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  1. ITV Report

Football child sex abuse: 83 potential suspects identified

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Correspondent Ian Payne

Dozens of potential suspects have been identified in connection with historical child sexual abuse allegations in football, police have revealed.

Almost one hundred clubs spanning all tiers of the game have been "impacted", according to figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council.

The NPCC said 98% of those identified as victims are male and the age range for potential victims at the time of alleged abuse spans from as young as seven to 20.

Other figures released showed that 83 potential suspects have been identified and as many as 98 football clubs have been "impacted".

The NPCC said the age range for potential victims at the time of abuse ranges from seven to 20.

This does not equate to 98 football clubs under investigation but refers to the number of clubs referenced when information is submitted, the NPCC said.

It also revealed that a total of 639 referrals from a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) helpline and directly from police forces have been received by Operation Hydrant, a national co-ordination hub. However it added that the number of referrals does not equate to the number of victims.

83
Potential suspects indentified
639
Referrals received by Operation Hydrant from the NSPCC helpline
98
Football clubs have been 'impacted'
7
The youngest age of a potential victim at the time of the abuse

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Protection, said: “We continue to urge anyone who may have been a victim of child sexual abuse to report it by dialling 101, or contacting the dedicated NSPCC helpline, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place.

"We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.

“As the number of calls being received across the service is higher than usual, it may take longer than normal for an officer from a local force to make contact to follow up from the initial call. Please be assured that the information provided will be taken seriously and acted upon.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: "These shocking numbers now identified by police reveal the deeply disturbing extent of abuse that has been going on within football.

"Our football hotline, launched with the support of the FA, 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."