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  1. ITV Report

Sex abuse in football is global problem, victims say

Sex abuse in football is a global problem which is still happening today, victim and former footballer Andy Woodward has said.

Speaking at the launch of the Offside Trust - an independent victim support group set up for victims of football sex abuse - he told how paedophile coaches operated in the US when he was a teenager.

Ex-Crewe Alexandra player Woodward, 43, said: "This isn’t just in this country. This is global, this. This is all over the place."

He added that he is currently in talks with "people in America" and will potentially go there to hear more.

Steve Walters, 44, who also suffered abuse as a young footballer, broke down in tears after pleading for an end to the "bravado in football".

The former Crewe Alexandra midfielder said: "In my opinion we need more high profile people coming forward supporting us because it’s happening everywhere, throughout the years. The bravado in football needs to stop now.

"That could be your child, every time I look at my child…"

He added: "We haven’t had an inkling of an apology yet off the football club [Crewe Alexandra FC] we were at, which in our opinion is absolutely disgusting."

"It’s the club’s responsibility to weed out the paedophiles because there’s more about, even now.

"There’s plenty about, believe me. It should have been eradicated, nipped in the bud."

The Offside Trust was launched today by Woodward, Walters,and Chris Answorth, all footballers who suffered at the hands of paedophile coaches in the 1980s.

Speaking to ITV News, Woodward added: "It impacts not only on my relationship with [my partner], but previous relationships and my children, who have suffered not having the proper dad that they should have.

"But now I'm going to be able to do that, I'm going to be able to be that dad to my children."

  • Contact The Offside Trust here