Shropshire Star

Karl Henry cleared of wrongdoing in grassroots case

Former Wolves midfielder Karl Henry has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a youth game was abandoned last November.


Henry took to X, formerly Twitter, to condemn the 'disgusting' officiating at grassroots level, before later apologising for ‘harsh and inflammatory’ comments.

His club Boldmere St Michaels then released a statement distancing themselves from Henry's comments.

Now, in a lengthy statement on X, Henry has revealed he has been cleared by the FA.

He said: "I am delighted to report that, following a lengthy disciplinary process, including a personal hearing with an experienced FA panel, I have been cleared of all allegations relating to the abandonment of a fixture played by my Boldmere St Michael’s Under-12s team at West Worcester last November.

"Allegations which were made and spread on social media that my conduct towards the referee caused the abandonment of the game – which we were leading 2-0 at half time – were proven to be completely unfounded.

"Facing a two-day hearing after being charged with misconduct, I took up legal representation as I knew the serious allegations I was facing were absolutely without foundation and I felt it was important to properly state my case.

"As it turned out, after one day of evidence featuring video footage from the entire first half and testimonies from the match referee, the opposition coach and a number of parents, the panel ruled that there was no case to answer. This decision was taken in advance of the planned second day of the hearing, when my own witnesses were due to give evidence, illustrating the weakness and inaccuracies of the case against me.

"I would like to thank the MJPL for being thorough and professional throughout their investigation. I would also like to thank the Birmingham FA for granting me a fair hearing, and feel vindicated that – as I had stated all along – myself, my team and the parents from Boldmere St Michael’s Juniors U12s had done absolutely nothing wrong.

"However, I am left with deep concern for others in grassroots football who have been punished in similar situations because they didn’t have the back-up of video evidence or access to legal representation. As I have learned the hard way, it can be an unforgiving place where accusations are repeatedly and carelessly thrown around with no regard either for accuracy or potential reputational damage, the like of which I have endured on social media over the last few months.

"I am a former Wolves captain coaching in an area dominated by supporters of Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion so I, of course, expected a level of abuse and vitriol from rival fans. They didn’t disappoint!

"What I didn’t expect was the lengths some of these bitter people — many in positions of power — would go to to try and bring me down, including these kind of completely false allegations. This behaviour should be called out for what it is… Embarrassing and shameful and it is where I will continue to draw the line.

"I would like to thank my coaches, players and parents for their unwavering support as well as everyone at Boldmere St Michaels Football Club who did not rush to any judgements and instead, assessed the evidence on its own merit. The Junior Board, in particular, fought extremely hard for my young team when our fixtures were cancelled for a whole month as a result of these allegations even though, as has now been proved, we had not committed any offence.

"In closing, I am delighted to be able to put this incident behind me and look forward to starting preparations for next season. I hope to continue passing on the extensive football knowledge gained during my professional career, to the grassroots game."

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