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Chelsea FC settles racism claims

Success for James Counsell KC and Ben Bradley as Chelsea FC settle four claims for racist abuse

Four Claimants, all represented by James Counsell KC and Benjamin Bradley, have settled their claims for damages against Chelsea Football Club for undisclosed six figure sums in abuse proceedings.

The Claimants settled their claims for damages against Chelsea Football Club for undisclosed six figure sums on 7th February at a pre-trial review hearing.  The claims, which were listed for a six week trial, involving 62 witnesses, in four weeks’ time alleged that two former employees, Graham Rix, the former England international footballer, and Gwyn Williams, whilst working for the club’s youth training programme in the 1990s, racially abused these four young black footballers when they were aged between 14 and 18.

At a court hearing in May 2021, the High Court had been told that the boys had been subjected to a “barrage of disgracefully offensive racist abuse”, accompanied by physical assaults by one of the coaches and that the boys were singled out and repeatedly humiliated because of their colour.   It was also claimed that the club was in breach of its duty of care by failing to take steps to prevent the culture of racist abuse which existed at Chelsea at that time and was vicariously liable for the tort of intentional infliction of harm committed by both men.

All four claimants are said to have suffered serious psychiatric injuries and other psychological symptoms which have affected them throughout their adult lives as a result of the constant humiliation and offensive behaviour to which they were subjected over a lengthy part of their formative years.

James and Ben were instructed by Bolt Burdon Kemp.

More information on the case

Outer Temple previously published details of the High Court application in July 2021, available here.

News of the settlement agreement was reported on BBC Sport and Sky Sports as the football world watched how the club would handle the trial. A Chelsea spokesman said after Monday’s hearing: “The club is pleased that we have been able to conclude a settlement of these claims without any further litigation. We will continue to offer support to the former players concerned through our dedicated Player Support Service.” Kick It Out is English football’s equality and inclusion organisation.

Find out more

James Counsell KC and Ben Bradley are regularly instructed (often together) on large, novel and high profile abuse claims. They are currently instructed in a number of high-profile cases being brought against Premiership and other professional football clubs.

Further details of their respective practices can be obtained from their clerks, Graham Woods and Paul Barton.

News 8 Feb, 2022


James Counsell KC

Call: 1984 Silk: 2017

Ben Bradley

Call: 2007

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