Dario Gradi: Crewe director of football to appeal against FA suspension

Dario Gradi
Dario Gradi was the manager of Crewe from 1983 to 2007

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi is to appeal against his Football Association suspension from working in the game.

The 75-year-old was suspended on 25 November pending an FA review into widespread child sex abuse allegations.

One source has told the BBC that Gradi's hearing is "imminent".

Solicitors for Gradi are believed to have gathered character references from players, coaches and executives he has worked with over his long career.

What is not clear is whether the suspension solely relates to reports that while a coach at Chelsea in the 1970s he visited the house of a 15-year-old youth-team player to "smooth over" a complaint of sexual assault by the club's chief scout, Eddie Heath, or to events while working for Crewe.

Heath, who has since died, has been accused by several people of sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.

Gradi has told friends he is determined to clear his name and has been left frustrated by the FA's actions, believing his career has been left in limbo.

In a statement last December, he said: "Having been notified by the Football Association on 25 November, I acknowledged my current interim suspension from football.

"I would like to reiterate that I will do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities.

"As I have previously stated, aside from denying any wrong doing it would be inappropriate and unfair on all parties to comment through the media at this time in connection with any allegations."

A spokesman for the FA said the governing body, which has started an independent investigation into how it handled claims of historical child sex abuse, was unable to comment.

Solicitors for Mr Gradi did not respond to enquiries.

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