MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola says his “thoughts and feelings” were with the victims of Barry Bennell after the former football coach was found guilty of sexually abusing more young players.
The former Manchester City scout and ex-Crewe Alexandra coach has already served three jail terms for similar offences involving 16 other victims.
It has now emerged that Bennell may have assaulted more than 100 boys and could face a further prosecution after an additional 86 complainants came forward to say they too had been abused by him.
Guardiola was asked for his comments on the issue at the news conference ahead of City’s FA Cup clash with Wigan Athletic and said he hoped that such a “terrible situation” could never happen again.
“Well of course it’s a personal issue, all the people in this room know it’s a terrible history, so my feelings and thoughts are for the victims,” the Catalan said.
“Hopefully everyone can learn from that, society can learn from that because I’m a father, so when you see what has happened, it can happen with my sons and daughters, it’s a terrible situation and it’s good that that situation appeared and the facts about that and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
“The authorities and judges have to decide in a better way to try to make a good example for the future so it doesn’t happen again.”
The club issued a statement after Bennell’s latest guilty verdict in which it expressed “its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences.”
City also said they initiated a QC-led review into whether Bennell had used the club to facilitate alleged child sexual abuse.