Crewe chairman John Bowler resigns in wake of Sheldon report


rewe chairman John Bowler has resigned from his role in the wake of the Sheldon report into historical sexual abuse in football.

In a statement released on Thursday morning Bowler apologised to players abused by the club’s ex-youth coach Barry Bennell.

Bowler said he always intended to stand down once the report had been published.

It finally came out last Wednesday, after being commissioned by the Football Association in December 2016, and was critical of Crewe for not doing enough to protect boys from serial abuser Barry Bennell.

Bowler said: “As the only person left with an association to that era, I truly believe it was important for me to see it through to conclusion.

“I am satisfied with the findings of the review that found that the club did not have any knowledge of Barry Bennell’s heinous crimes.”

Clive Sheldon concluded in his report that it was likely three Crewe directors discussed Bennell over concerns which hinted at his sexual interest in children.

It also found there is no evidence that advice from a senior police officer to keep a “watching brief” on Bennell was heeded.

The club were also criticised for not checking in with boys who were staying overnight at Bennell’s house.

“Had such steps been taken, this might have led to boys making disclosures to the club,” Sheldon wrote in his report.

Bowler, who became Crewe chairman in 1987 and joined the board in 1980, added: “I will always be deeply appalled and sorry that those young players and their families suffered at the hands of this evil predator.

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