Football: Bates stands by Rix

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The Independent Online
THE Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, last night attempted to justify his club's decision to stand by jailed coach Graham Rix, describing his punishment as "appallingly harsh".

The controversial chairman, writing of Rix's punishment for being found guilty of having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl, added: "An IRA mass murderer got 12 months and a former Chelsea employee caught stealing whilst in a position of trust got community service. Where's the justice?"

Bates gave his outspoken opinion in his programme notes for Chelsea's European Cup-Winners' Cup tie against Real Mallorca last night. He maintained that he did not condone Rix's actions, but insisted that the club had no intention of adding to his court-imposed punishment by sacking him from his position.

He added that the club would not be paying the coach while he was in prison, although it would be "providing for" his family as "Chelsea look after their own".

"He [Rix] is neither a pervert nor a paedophile," claimed Bates. "I have no sympathy for the girl involved, who cannot be named, or her father. I have a great deal of sympathy for Rix's four innocent children, who have been named and now can look forward to a childhood of vilification and persecution."

After giving lengthy details of the case, Bates concluded: "This may offend some people, if so I am sorry, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."