Next week Four Corners screens a report “End Game,” breaking the silence about sexual abuse in sport.
This was produced for French / German broadcaster ARTE.
“He was a hero. He was admired by everybody. So why would somebody believe me? I was just a little girl.” Former Olympic gymnast
Around the world sporting codes have been engulfed in scandal with shocking revelations about the sexual abuse of young athletes by their coaches.
“The first time he sexually abused me he whispered in my ear… ‘this is what you have to do if you want to be a footballer.’” Former Premier League footballer
Vulnerable young people, and their families, put their faith and trust in sporting coaches in the quest for sporting glory.
“If you can offer them a glory that they can dream about, if you can offer them success that is something that they would aspire to, then, of course, you have enormous power over them because there’s too much at stake to say no to your coach.” Director, sexual abuse hotline
Instead, many promising young athletes were betrayed by perpetrators who exploited the hold they had over their young charges.
“If I upset him in any way he’d drop me from the team. At any point, he would tell me you will go and you will disappear and the dream won’t happen. I was frightened to death because he had complete power over me.” Former Premier League footballer
Many of these coaches operated at an elite level training the next generation of champions. Their abusive behaviour was not a secret to those in charge of their sport.
“It leaves me speechless sometimes because I don’t understand how you can silence and sweep sex abuse under the rug for so many decades and have this culture allowed and ok. And it’s all about money, money and medals.” Former swimmer
Numerous high-profile sporting administrators have been accused of covering up cases of abuse and protecting perpetrators.
“(He) really was the mastermind of his time as far as being able to deceive, being able to lie and cover up for paedophile coaches. He mastered the cover-up.” Lawyer
Incredibly, even after abusers have been exposed, some sporting federations have tried to minimise the compensation awarded to victims.
“I personally did not think that was a fair system. It’s a spider web.” Former sports administrator
Now their many victims want the perpetrators and the sporting administrations to be exposed and held to account.
“As long as the medals and money keep coming, they don’t care.” Lawyer
Monday 19th October at 8.30pm on ABC.