Celtic FC to be sued by ex boys’ club player over sexual abuse

Celtic Football Club are being sued by a former youth player who suffered sexual abuse while playing for Celtic Boys' Club.

Thompsons Solicitors – who have sent official papers on behalf of one client seeking damages from the Parkhead club – described it as the 'largest and most insidious' case in British football, reports the BBC.

Thompsons represents more than 25 alleged victims of the Celtic Boys' Club - a feeder club to the senior Celtic team during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Celtic has said it while it has “historic contacts” with the boys' club, the two are “entirely separate” organisations.

Celtic Football Club.

In recent years, a number of former senior figures at the boys' club have been convicted of sexual crimes against young players in their care.

Celtic Boys Club founder Jim Torbett was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 after a judge said he used the football team as a “recruiting ground” to prey on boys.

Torbett targeted two teenagers including one who worshipped him as a “hero”.

Last year, Jim McCafferty, a Celtic youth team coach and kit man who also worked for the boys' club, admitted a string of sexual offences against boys at both clubs.

Frank Cairney, a former boys' club manager, was also jailed in February last year.

Thompsons say Celtic FC is responsible for the abuse suffered by its clients.

Last year, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said that the club had been conducting its own investigations into the abuse scandal at the boys' club, with a "wholly independent and experienced lawyer" leading the work.

No findings of that investigation have yet been made public.

Patrick McGuire, a partner with Thompsons, described the new legal proceedings as “hugely significant” for survivors of historical abuse.

He said: “One the best known and celebrated football clubs in the world is now going to be held to account in civil court for decades of the most abhorrent sexual abuse of children.

“These young lads and their families put their complete trust in Celtic and their feeder organisation Celtic Boys' Club.

“That trust was betrayed over four decades by a succession of paedophiles that operated openly within Celtic.”

Both parties have been in talks over civil cases for over a year but, with no resolution reached, the first case will now be heard at the Court of Session in the coming months.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director