The Club would like to respond to the Statement (below) issued by the Supporters Trust on Monday 26 February and which is now widely reported in the media.
The Club is satisfied that it has acted fully in accordance with its own Child Wellbeing and Protection Policy during the currency of this incident, which was a criminal investigation into a child protection matter.
Additionally, both the SFA Child Protection Unit and Police Scotland have confirmed that they were wholly satisfied with how the Club conducted itself throughout.
Specifically, on the issue of communication, the Club took advice from Police Scotland who were prescriptive in advising that knowledge of an investigation should be very tightly held while the matter was sub judice ( i. e. should be limited to those within the Club who have named responsibilities under the terms of the Club’s Child Wellbeing and Protection Policy).
When the Club was informed last week that the Police had decided that the individual concerned would have a case to answer, the Trust Secretary was informed and was invited to attend an internal meeting on Friday of last week to assist with preparing a statement to be used in response to any external queries on the matter ( below). The Trust declined to attend that meeting.
Club Statement- Monday 26 February 2018 ( referred to in final paragraph above)
Stirling Albion FC recognise the seriousness of the accusations levelled at one of our suspended youth development coaches.
As soon as the matter was brought to the Club’s attention, our Child Protection and Wellbeing Policy was triggered and followed stringently.
We sought advice from The Scottish Football Association Child Protection Department, to ensure all National guidance in place at the time was followed.
Our Duty of Care to all involved with Stirling Albion does not waver, and we continue to offer support to all those involved.
Stirling Albion FC will not be commenting further on the matter, to allow due process to take place.
Trust Statement 26 February (referred to in the opening paragraph)
PRESS STATEMENT 26/2/18
STIRLING Albion Supporters’ Trust (SAST) – the owner of Stirling Albion FC – can confirm that one of the club’s youth development coaches has been charged with sexual offences.
In line with the club’s child protection policy, the coach was suspended after the alleged offences came to light in 2016 and he remains suspended.
At that time, club officials also notified and sought advice from the Scottish Football Association.
However, SAST was only made aware by the club of the allegations and subsequent police investigation a matter of days ago.
The Trust is now arranging for an independent inquiry into the chronology of events to determine why it was not promptly informed.
Club chairman and operations director Stuart Brown has been suspended while the inquiry is ongoing, but it is important to make clear that there is no suggestion that either Mr Brown or any other club official has acted illegally or colluded in these alleged offences.
We note that the club’s child protection policy was reviewed internally in August 2017 to the satisfaction of the youth department.
However, SAST will now additionally arrange for a thorough independent review of all child protection protocols within the Stirling Albion football family.
Due to ongoing legal proceedings, no further comment can be made at this time.
Contact: Roy Guthrie, SAST spokesman: 0771 932 9063