Former Chelsea forward Gary Johnson claims he was paid £50,000 by the club to prevent him disclosing allegations of child abuse.
Johnson says he was sexually abused by Chelsea’s former chief scout Eddie Heath, who is now dead, after being groomed by him from the age of 13. Heath worked at Stamford Bridge from 1968 to 1979.
Reports earlier this week suggested Chelsea had made a payment to a former employee in relation to Heath’s conduct and Johnson says it was him.
“I think that they were paying me to keep a lid on this,” Johnson said in the Daily Mirror, which reported that Chelsea had waived the confidentiality clause in the settlement to the 57-year-old.
“Millions of fans around the world watch Chelsea. They are one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world.
“All their fans deserve to know the truth about what went on. I know they asked me to sign a gagging order and how many others are there out there. They may have paid others for their silence.
“I hope and pray no clubs are allowed to cover this up – no one should escape justice. We need total transparency now for the good of the game. What makes me so angry is that I went to them to say I had been abused and they basically said, ‘prove it’.”
Chelsea released a statement on Tuesday which read: “Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased.
“The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing the FA with any relevant information arising out of the club’s investigation.”