NSPCC football abuse hotline receives 1,700 calls since launch

Almost 2,000 calls have been taken by the NSPCC hotline Credit: PA

The NSPCC's hotline for victims of historic sex abuse in football has received more than 1,700 calls in three weeks.

Set up a week after former player Andy Woodward revealed he had been abused as a youngster, the dedicated line has received a huge response from victims of similar abuse.

According to the latest police figures, 83 potential suspects have been identified at 98 clubs.

Those numbers look set to grow as the helpline, set up by the FA and the children's charity, has taken more than 900 calls in the last fortnight alone, taking the total to 1,767 calls as of December 13.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "It's clear that for far too long, hundreds of people who suffered abuse as youngsters in the game have not been able to speak up, but it is encouraging that so many are finally finding their voice in a climate today where they know they will be listened to and supported.

"What's important now is that those victims get that much-needed support, and that perpetrators are identified and brought to justice by police. Anyone can contact our hotline in confidence and we will get them the help they need."

Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Police revealed it was looking at more than 106 claims of abuse related to 30 clubs, including four Premier League teams.

And the Scottish Football Association has followed the FA's lead in setting up an independent review of its response to historic sex abuse allegations.

The confidential NSPCC football abuse helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.