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Friday, February 19, 1999 Published at 11:00 GMT


Football star admits sex charge

Graham Rix: Admitted unlawful sex charge

A judge has told the former Arsenal and England footballer Graham Rix he faces imprisonment after admitting having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Rix, 41, who is now Chelsea FC's assistant manager, admitted one charge of having unlawful sexual intercourse with the girl, and one of indecently assaulting her early last year.

But, at Knightsbridge Crown Court in London, the father-of-four denied two further counts of indecently assaulting the teenager.

Judge Timothy Pontius renewed Rix's bail on condition that he did not contact the girl or her family "either directly or indirectly".

'Be realistic'

He also told Rix it would be "very much in your interests to co-operate and tell ... everything" to the probation officer who would interview him.

"The fact that I'm about to release you on bail and the fact that I have ordered a report should not for a moment be taken by you as an indication of the sentence you will ultimately receive," the judge said.

"Because of the gravity of these offences, I must keep all my sentencing options open and they include, perhaps in the forefront, imprisonment.

"I want you to be realistic about your position," he added.

Home defeat

Rix, from Richmond, south-west London, who was capped for England 17 times, is regarded as one of the country's top coaches and is in charge of Chelsea's expensive line-up of foreign stars.

He is assistant manager to former Italian international Gianluca Vialli.

Rix, who has been married for 17 years, is said to have met the girl at a west London hotel.

The smartly dressed coach breathed deeply before replying "guilty" to the first of the four charges, that he indecently assaulted the 15-year-old on 8 January 1998.

The prosecution accepted his pleas of not guilty to the next two charges, which alleged similar offences in the weeks leading up to 27 February, the night before Chelsea's home defeat to Manchester United.

But Rix then pleaded guilty to a fourth count, which alleged that that evening he had had unlawful sexual intercourse with the girl, who is now 16.

Sentencing was adjourned until 26 March for reports to be drawn up.

The maximum sentence for having unlawful sex with a girl under 16 years of age is two years, but for indecent assault it is 10 years.

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