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Court Cases

Former soccer coach Barry Bennell denies UK child abuse allegations

Football coach Barry Bennell has denied eight child abuse offences in the 1980s. The case is one of a handful that has opened up the sport to scrutiny after several players came forward in 2016 to describe sex abuse.

Bennell, who is now 63, appeared via videolink from Woodhill Prison in a hearing at Chester Crown Court in northwest England.

An undated file photo of soccer coach Barry Bennell

Coach Barry Bennell. Eleven people have come forward to police in the wake of revelations about sexual abuse in soccer

He pleaded "not guilty" to all the charges put before him.

Bennell - who worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra, now in the fourth-tier of English soccer, as well as Premier League Manchester City and Stoke City - denied five counts of indecent assault, two counts of inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery.

All are said to have happened between 1981 and 1986, when the alleged victim was under the age of 16.

Bennell was remanded in custody until March when a further hearing is expected to take place.

"I have had an opportunity to speak to the complainant; at the moment he preserves his anonymity," Prosecutor Owen Edwards told the court.

It is an offence for either the press or public to identify the complainant and Judge Roger Dutton warned that any revelations in this regard "will be treated very seriously" by the courts.

jbh/se (AFP, AP)

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