“Standing ovation for Paul Stewart” – Safeguarding in Sport – Truth, Reality and Responsibility for all

International Sports Convention, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 20th March 2024

Safeguarding in Sport – Truth, Reality and Responsibility for all

Paul Stewart, Founder and CEO of Paul Stewart Official Safeguarding

Paul Stewart received a standing ovation after his extraordinarily powerful presentation, in which he detailed the appalling sexual and physical abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of a football coach, who preyed on his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

Stewart outlined his subsequent problems as an adult with drugs, alcohol and depression. He explained that the abuse had a devastating affect on his parents, wife and children.

“The impact it has had on my adult life has been far worse than the abuse itself.”

Stewart only told his family of the abuse in 2016, having kept it secret for 40 years.

He now uses his story as a ‘cautionary tale’ going into schools and football clubs, where he warns of the dangers to the children (Stewart prefers not to call them young footballers or athletes), which can now include approaches by abusers via social media.

Stewart tells the children of the importance of speaking up, and that the people who are looking after them are interested in their wellbeing. “Don’t carry any baggage.”

He uses his experiences and story to try and prevent other lives being ruined by abusers in the future.

The audience was gripped by Stewart’s presentation, surely the most powerful ever in the 15 years of the International Sports Convention.

Paul Stewart was an international footballer who played for England. He is a world-class speaker.