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Chelsea at centre of racism and bullying scandal as three former players accuse ex-coaches Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams of horrendous abuse - including throwing a cup of hot coffee in one of their faces

  • Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams enjoyed long coaching careers at Chelsea
  • Former young players at the club have accused them of racist abuse and bullying
  • The Guardian report youths were reportedly called names such as 'black b******'
  • Rix, then youth-team coach, is accused of throwing hot coffee in a player's face
  • Chelsea statement read: 'We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously' 

Chelsea have been rocked by legal claims made by three former youth players relating to alleged racist abuse by the club's coaches.

Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams are accused of horrific abuse of black players, including physical attacks. Rix, the then youth-team coach, even allegedly threw hot coffee in one player's face.

The Guardian's Daniel Taylor reports that after a seven-month investigation, the police decided there was not enough evidence to take action. But an internal inquiry has been launched by Chelsea, while two of the players have been interviewed by the FA. The club have also offered at least one of the players counselling. 

Ex-Chelsea coaches  Graham Rix (l) and Gwyn Williams (r) are accused of bullying and racism

Ex-Chelsea coaches  Graham Rix (l) and Gwyn Williams (r) are accused of bullying and racism

Former youth-team coach Rix (r) allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee in the face of one prospect

Former youth-team coach Rix (r) allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee in the face of one prospect

Williams was a high-level figure at the London club for more than a quarter of a century. He was close with Ken Bates and worked as an assistant to Claudio Ranieri and a scout for Jose Mourinho. 

But the allegations made against him and Rix were so serious that the authorities were notified.

The two coaches have reportedly declined to comment on the allegations but a Chelsea statement read: 'We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously… we are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to fully support those affected, assist the authorities and support their investigations.'

Both coaches worked in Chelsea backroom staff during the tenures of Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli at Stamford Bridge. The era saw Chelsea re-establish themselves as one of the top clubs in the country towards the end of the last century. 

None of the managers is accused of knowing about the abuse or doing any wrong. One player even said in an interview with the FA: 'The amount of times I wanted to say something to Ruud Gullit…  but Ruud Gullit didn’t even know what was going on. They didn’t do these things in front of Ruud.'

WIlliams and Rix worked under the likes of Ruud Gullit at Stamford Bridge. None of the managers is accused of any wrongdoing.

WIlliams and Rix worked under the likes of Ruud Gullit at Stamford Bridge. None of the managers is accused of any wrongdoing.

Wiliams (pictured circa 1990) was a prominent figure at Chelsea for more than 25 years

Wiliams (pictured circa 1990) was a prominent figure at Chelsea for more than 25 years

But, as reported by the Guardian, the FA received evidence that the club was seen as 'feral environment' for some young black youth players, with one of the allegations claiming they were treated 'like a race of fucking dogs'. 

During one game in particular, Rix is accused of embarrassing one outfield player by bringing on a goalkeeper in his place. While the player showered after the game, the coach allegedly shouted that 'if his heart was as big as his c***, he would be a great player that man more'.

He reportedly followed up the racist remark by saying: '(You're) the only person in the whole stadium to be able to enjoy the 40-degree heat' as 'blacks were always winning the long-distance Olympic events in the heat, if they weren't chucking spears'.

The same player is alleged to have been called 'darkie', a 'n****g', a 'black b******', a 'w**', 'midnight' and 'jigaboo,' while Williams is accused of telling him to 'f*** off back to Africa' and 'sell drugs or rob old grannies'.

One player is alleged to have been called names such as 'darkie', 'n****g', and 'black b******'

One player is alleged to have been called names such as 'darkie', 'n****g', and 'black b******'

That particular prospect, who is now in his late-30s, left the club but claims the abuse still affected him in his adult life. According to the Guardian, everyday the  would walk to the training ground 'thinking: “Oh my God, I can't wait for this day to be over' … I was so low. Even dragging this up now, it really affects me”.'

The paper also claim that one player alleges that Williams 'seemed to target him'. He told the newspaper that the former coach would engage in 'flicking my scrotum, flicking my penis, patting my bum' while he was still a minor.

The FA have also come in for criticism by a player, who claims that he tried to ring chief executive Graham Kelly to discuss the allegations. But after claiming he wasn't even put through, he said: 'The FA have failed me in the way of not protecting me as a minor.'

That same player says he was abused from the age of '12, 13'. The Guardian report: 'The vernacular he (Williams) was using was: ‘You little black bastard, you coon, you little wog, how are you doing?’ I was a minor, I’d never heard those words being said to someone (in football). 

'He addressed me like that every time he saw me. He’d walk in (the dressing room) and go: “Hey, look at the fucking blackies here then. Fucking rubber lips. Look at their fucking big noses. You black bastard. Been fucking robbing cars, have you?” Let me tell you something – that is the most demoralising feeling you could ever have.'

In 1999, Rix served six months in jail after admitting having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl

In 1999, Rix served six months in jail after admitting having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl

He added in an interview with the FA: 'I just didn’t know how to handle it and it was constant … the racial slurs of “coon,” “wog,” “monkey”… “smoking wacky-backy”, which is marijuana, or “black bastard,” “fucking black bastard,” “mango-muncher”, “n*****.”

'Gwyn Williams has been at the club since 1979. He was powerful. He was Ken Bates’s mate. The guy [Williams] is a walking piece of dirt, but he had power. It was said he had the biggest black book in London – he knew everyone. That guy was the governor. No matter what role he had, that man had power.'        

It is not the first time Williams has been accused of making deplorable comments towards his players. The 68-year-old was accused of homophobia by former defender Graham Le Saux. 

'He would wander up to me before training and say: ‘Come on, p**f, get your boots on,' Le Saux wrote in 2007. Six years on the coach was later sacked by Leeds for gross misconduct after emailing pornographic images of women to a number of colleagues.

Rix, too, has previously hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. In 1999, the 50-year-old served six months in prison after admitting having unlawful sex with an underage girl and indecent assault. He returned to the club immediately after his release and even had a short spell as caretaker manager after Vialli left. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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