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Chelsea apologise to Johnson over abuse

Press Association logoPress Association 3/12/2016

Chelsea Football Club has apologised profusely to former striker Gary Johnson, who was sexually abused while a youth team player at the London club in the 1970s.

In a statement, Chelsea said Mr Johnson had "suffered unacceptably" and that it had "no desire to hide any historic abuse we uncover from view".

The club said an external review would examine whether it carried out a proper investigation when the allegations first came to light, and why it did not report them to the Football Association and Premier League.

"We are fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all children and young people who are in our care or attending our premises. Their welfare is of paramount importance," the club said.

It was previously claimed that Chelsea paid off Mr Johnson, who alleged he was abused by ex-coach Eddie Heath.

Mr Johnson, 57, said he was paid AGBP50,000 ($A85,240) not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by its former chief scout.

Chelsea said on Tuesday that it had appointed an external law firm to carry out a formal investigation into a former employee.

Mr Heath, who was the club's chief scout from 1968 to 1979, died before the allegations were made.

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