Dutch professors: Legally require sports clubs to report sexual abuse

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ChristianMan16Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ChristianMan16

Managers of sports clubs should be legally required to report any signs of sexual abuse to a national body, two Dutch professors said to the Volkskrant. If they fail to do so, they should be subject to disciplinary proceedings, according to the professors. 

Professors Marjan Olfers and Peter Vogelzang of the Institute for Sports Law believe that the only way to effectively address sexual abuse in sports clubs, is to make sure that perpetrators are registered centrally and shared with other clubs. This should be coupled with a Safety Board for Sports. 

"In the current system, incidents are too often not reported. And when they are reported, different reports are not linked", Olfers said to the newspaper. "Managers must pass on a report from in their club. If the Safety Board sees sufficient reason, an investigation can be launched. In that way we can put an end to unsafe situations."

According to the professors, it is very important that there is a register where reports can be brought together. The current system allows for coaches with several complaints against them to still work at different clubs. 

In December sports federation NOC*NSF announced a major investigation into sexual abuse in sport. The investigation will focus on the past 30 years. The reason for the investigation is a sex abuse scandal in the United Kingdom involving dozens of football clubs. In November a number of former footballers revealed that they were sexually abused by coach Barry Bennel of club Crewe Alexandra. 

In 2015 the federation received 215 reports of sexual abuse.