In a development that has sent ripples through the football community, Barry Bennell, a former scout for Manchester City and coach for Crewe, has died in prison at the age of 69.
The news comes just before Manchester City's Champions League match against Red Star, adding a layer of complexity to an already tense atmosphere.
The UK Ministry of Justice confirmed Bennell's death, which occurred at Littlehey prison on Saturday. Bennell had been serving a 34-year sentence for multiple convictions related to child abuse in professional football. The news has left the football world in a state of shock, coming as it does just before a high-profile Champions League match.
Bennell had been a polarizing figure in the football community, with judges in his trials describing him as an "incarnate devil" and "every parent's worst nightmare." His criminal offenses date back to the 1970s, and his involvement in professional football had been a subject of ongoing scrutiny and debate.
The Ministry of Justice has stated that, as with all prison deaths, an investigation will be conducted into the circumstances surrounding Bennell's death. The incident raises questions about the oversight and ethical responsibilities within the sport, topics that have been hotly debated in recent years.
The timing of the news adds an unexpected dimension to the upcoming Champions League match between Manchester City and Red Star. While it is unclear how this development will impact the teams or the match itself, it certainly casts a shadow over the event.
As the football community grapples with the news of Bennell's death, questions about ethics, oversight, and the responsibilities of those involved in the sport are once again at the forefront. The investigation into Bennell's death is expected to shed more light on these complex issues.