Last Updated: 21/12/18 8:14pm
Kick It Out chair Lord Ouseley has insisted he has never “abused, vilified, harassed or bullied anyone”.
His comments came in a personal statement in response to allegations about the working environment at football’s anti-discrimination charity.
The Charity Commission is investigating Kick It Out after concerns were raised about staff welfare.
Ouseley said in a statement on the Kick It Out website that he had “no criticism to make of any staff who wish to be critical” and was “proud” that he had dealt with any concerns brought to his attention.
He added: “Even though I know that I have not been involved in the interface of staff matters, but am in governance oversight, I fully accept my role as leader and accept any failing which may have occurred.
“However, that does not mean that I am going to accept unreasonable and unjustified media criticism. During the 25 years of my tenure as an unpaid, voluntary and dedicated servant of Kick It Out, as well as other charities to which I have given my all, I have never, in my view, and would defy anyone to bring forward evidence to the contrary, abused, vilified, harassed or bullied anyone.
“I do not believe that staff at Kick It Out have engaged in such conduct and I certainly would not condone such conduct.”
Ouseley also insisted Kick It Out bosses gave “their best endeavours and dedication” to a staff member who made an allegation of sexual abuse.
It has since emerged it took more than a year for the allegation to be brought to the attention of Kick It Out’s other trustees and then the Charity Commission.
Ouseley said: “With regard to the assertion that the allegation that Kick it Out did not provide appropriate support to a staff member who claimed sexual abuse involving someone who has no connection with Kick It Out, I would leave that to the independent investigation to pronounce on.
“But, I know that the Kick It Out senior staff gave their best endeavours and dedication to the affected staff member.
“Clearly, from my perspective, having been told that the individual did not want to involve the police, which I emphasised should have happened immediately, and wanted the matter resolved in a private manner, I assumed the task of preserving and safeguarding that privacy.
“I hold my hands up as guilty if I should have told my trustees and the Charity Commissioners.”
Ouseley, who founded Kick It Out in 1993, is one of the charity’s eight trustees.