Southampton could remove statue of club 'legend' over evidence he ignored paedophile coach 4 months ago

Southampton could remove statue of club 'legend' over evidence he ignored paedophile coach

Southampton are considering removing the statue of Ted Bates outside their ground

Southampton are considering removing the statue of club 'legend' Ted Bates outside of their stadium after evidence he ignored warnings about paedophile coach, Bob Higgins.

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Bates was named by the Football Association's independent report into historical child abuse in football after a former headteacher provided evidence in which he raised concerns surrounding the behaviour of Higgins to Southampton.

The headteacher was quoted as saying in the Sheldon Report that "Bates was enraged and threatened to take legal action if I persisted with what he called malicious gossip."

He added that Higgins himself called the headteacher and "pleaded not to hound him".

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Southampton have since informed victims of the sexual abuse that took place that discussions are underway to remove the statue, which has been welcomed by those affected.

"As a victim of Bob Higgins and after having discussions with directors, I welcome the news that the club are considering removing the statue of Ted Bates," a former Southampton trainee told The Athletic.

"It may be unpopular with some Southampton fans but those fans really need to know the truth about why this is being considered. The club need to be honest, the fans deserve to know.

"Bates could, and should, have put a stop to Higgins’ offending but decided to say nothing. If the statue is not removed, then the club clearly seem not to have the victims’ best interests at heart."

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British charity Barnardo's released a review in November in which they criticised the club for failing to stop Higgins earlier, however they refused to single out Bates (who was granted anonymity in the report) and instead singled out the club as a whole.

Although discussions are underway, Southampton are taking their time to decide what will happen given the sensitivity surrounding the issue.

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