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Dario Gradi to appeal against FA suspension

Dario Gradi is to appeal against his Football Association suspension from working in football.

One source has told the BBC the hearing is “imminent”.

Solicitors for Gradi, who was Crewe’s director of football at the time of his suspension, are believed to have gathered character references from players, coaches and executives he has worked with over his long career.

Gradi, 75, was suspended by the FA on 25 November last year.

What is still not clear is whether the suspension relates to events while working for Crewe or to reports that while a coach at Chelsea in the 1970s he visited the house of a 15-year-old youth-team player to “smooth over” a complaint of sexual assault by the club’s chief scout, Eddie Heath.

Heath, who has since died, has been accused by several people of sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.

Privately, Gradi has told friends he is determined to clear his name and has been left frustrated by the FA’s actions, believing his career has been left in limbo.

In a statement last December, Gradi said: “Having been notified by the Football Association on 25 November, I acknowledged my current interim suspension from football.

“I would like to reiterate that I will do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities.

“As I have previously stated, aside from denying any wrong doing it would be inappropriate and unfair on all parties to comment through the media at this time in connection with any allegations.”

A spokesman for the FA said the governing body, which has started an independent investigation into how it handled claims of historical child sex abuse, was unable to comment.

Solicitors for Mr Gradi did not respond to enquiries.

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