More than 80 potential sexual abuse suspects and 98 football clubs in the U.K. have been identified in an inquiry into child sex abuse, UK police chiefs said in a statement.
Police confirm 83 potential suspects in youth football sex abuse scandal https://t.co/2RwyyAdFDm
— The Independent (@Independent) December 9, 2016
In the statement, the national police chiefs’ council lead for child protection, chief constable Simon Bailey, said:
“Allegations received by police forces across the country are being swiftly acted upon.
“We are ensuring an efficient and effective service-wide approach to investigating allegations, removing the potential for duplication and enabling the timely and effective sharing of intelligence and information between forces.
“We are also liaising closely with the Football Association to ensure all relevant information they hold is shared to inform investigations moving forward.
“We continue to urge anyone who may have been a victim of child sexual abuse to report it by contacting a dedicated National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helpline, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place.”
98% of potential victims have been identified as male with abuse occurring between the ages seven and 20, police have said. A total of 639 referrals had been received from the NSPCC helpline and directly from UK police forces.
Football sex abuse scandal: how the story unfolded – video https://t.co/q7dQtTBFPh
— The Guardian (@guardian) December 8, 2016
Information received is being passed to Operation Hydrant which was set up by the NPCC in 2014 to oversee the investigation of allegations of “non-recent” child sex abuse within institutions.
On November 17, ex-pro football player, Andy Woodward waived his right to anonymity and gave an exclusive interview on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire News program to say he had been a victim of sexual abuse as a young football player.
Since then, more than 20 former football players, including ex-youth players, trainees and pro’s have come forward with allegations of historical abuse.
#FootballAbuse – @ChelseaFC 'bought my silence for £50k' https://t.co/v8x33m9ZJ5
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) December 8, 2016
“These shocking numbers identified by police and reveal the deeply disturbing extent of abuse that has been going on within football,” an NSPCC spokesperson said.
“Our football hotline, launched with the support of the UK Football Association, saw a staggering surge in calls in its first week and anyone who wants to contact us can continue to do so in confidence, with the knowledge they will be listened to and supported,” he added.
The NSPCC hotline is available 24 hours by calling 0800 0232642 within the UK and +44 800 023 2642 from outside the UK.
We have published the latest information we have on #police football abuse reports – https://t.co/8Oo6nTMUg7
— NPCC (@PoliceChiefs) December 9, 2016
West Midlands Police says it is investigating four historical allegations of child abuse in football https://t.co/7F2iV8lOY6
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 2, 2016
BREAKING: England striker Jamie Vardy brands darts legend Eric Bristow 'disgusting' for calling football sex abuse victims 'wimps'. @GMB
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 5, 2016