Premier League - Former England captain denies ignoring 'abuse'

Former England captain Mick Mills has denied allegations that he turned a blind eye to initiation ceremonies at Stoke City in the 1980s that amounted to sexual assault.

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Premier League - Former England captain denies ignoring 'abuse'
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Former England footballer Mick Mills looks on from the commentary box (Getty)

Mills was manager of Stoke when it is alleged that apprentices were subject to initiation ceremonies and punishment rituals that have led to those involved suffering with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Central to the case is a claim by former player Geroge Blackstock that goalkeeper at the time Peter Fox subjected the apprentice to what was known as “the finger”, and, as such, the player has brought an action against the club for breach of duty.

Mills, 64, is, along with Tony Lacey, 69, a former player who works as Stoke’s youth development officer, alleged to have known about the incident but not taken action against Fox, who is being sued by Blackstock.

The incident in question involves a “goalkeeper's glove [being] smeared with heat cream and used in a sexual assault”, according to a report in the Guardian.

The court papers also allege other forms of hazing with Ian Gibbons, who also claims to have received “the Glove”, alleging that Blackstock had a “hot teapot placed on his backside” as punishment after first team players were unhappy that tea made by the youth team player was not hot enough.

Blackstock has made the claim for "distress, pain, humiliation, injury, loss and damage" and states that he did not report the incident at the time because he thought it would jeopardise his chances of becoming professional at the club.

Mills, who captained England at the 1982 World Cup, Fox and Lacey deny all the allegations.

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