Eight men suing Manchester City over Barry Bennell abuse lose High Court fight

Eight men, who are now in their forties and fifties, were suing Manchester City on the grounds that paedophile Barry Bennell was connected with the club when the alleged abuse happened

Eight men who sued Manchester City after complaining of abuse by football paedophile Barry Bennell have lost a High Court fight.

The men accused convicted Bennell of abusing them when they were playing schoolboy football between 1979 and 1985.

Bennell was a scout for Man City during the seventies and the men, who are now in their forties and fifties, argued the relationship between the paedophile and the club was “one of employment or akin to employment”.

Man City denied the claim on the grounds that Bennell was not employed by the club between the years in question.

Bennell gave evidence at the trial via video link from prison and insisted he was never a Man City coach “after 1978-79” and the teams he coached had “no connection at all” with the professional club.

A judge ruled against the men on Monday.

Mr Justice Johnson said: “The connection between the abuse and Bennell’s relationship with MCFC is insufficient to give rise to vicarious liability.

“The relationship gave Bennell the opportunity to commit the abuse, but MCFC had not entrusted the welfare of the claimants to Bennell. “It follows that it has not been shown that MCFC is legally responsible for Bennell’s acts of abuse.”

He added: “Each claim is therefore dismissed.”

Lawyer David McClenaghan, who represented the men, said: “My clients and I are both shocked and dismayed at the High Court decision handed down today which declined to award them substantial damages in their claims against Manchester City Football Club for abuse suffered at the hands of Barry Bennell.”

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