Former Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi stripped of MBE

Dario Gradi, the former Crewe Alexandra manager, has been stripped of his MBE after complaints from survivors of sexual abuse.

Gradi was named in the Queen’s honour’s list in 1998, receiving an MBE for services to football, as part of a career that saw him take charge of more than 1,000 games at the club where the paedophile Barry Bennell worked as his youth-team coach.

However, Gradi has been suspended from football since 2016 because of a safeguarding assessment at the time that ruled he could pose a danger to children.

The Offside Trust, a group set up by Bennell’s victims, wrote to the Cabinet Office in 2021 to request the forfeiture of Gradi’s MBE on the basis that it is clear “his honour has been tarnished.”

That decision has now been ratified and an official announcement will be made on Tuesday to confirm that the decision has been taken due to “professional disbarment.” Gradi has been informed in writing.

Bennell, described by a judge as “sheer evil” and “the devil incarnate” is serving a 36-year prison sentence after being convicted of multiple offences against boys in the junior system of Crewe and, before that, with teams linked to Manchester City in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Gradi has always denied any knowledge of Bennell’s crimes but has been heavily criticised for not doing more to protect the boys who were subjected to serious and long-standing sexual abuse.


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(Photo: David Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images)

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