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FA chairman: Football asleep to issue of child sex abuse in 1990s

FA chairman Greg Clarke said football - and society as a whole - had a "total unawareness" of safeguarding children in the 1990s.

Speaking as police forces around the country investigate historical allegations from more than 20 former players said the sport and other institutions were "sleepwalking" rather than dealing with the problem.

Eight police forces are now looking into allegations of historical abuse in football.

There have been 250 reports made to police and more than 50 calls were made to an NSPCC hotline set up for sexual abuse victims in football in the initial hours of opening.

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Dario Gradi denies knowledge of footballers' abuse

Dario Gradi is currently the Director of Football at Crewe. Credit: PA

The director of football at Crewe Alexandra has said he knew nothing about youth scout Barry Bennell's abuse of young footballers at the time.

Dario Gradi said the first he knew of Mr Bennell's crimes "was when he was arrested in 1994".

In a statement, Mr Gradi, who has been associated to the club for over three decades, said: "I would like to express my sympathy to the victims of Barry Bennell not only at Crewe Alexandra, but at other clubs in the North West.

"The first I knew about Barry Bennell's crimes was when he was arrested in the United States in 1994. I knew nothing of his crimes before this time when he was employed by us.

"No-one at the Football Club knew of Bennell's crimes until his arrest in 1994 and his subsequent prosecution in the United Kingdom.

"The Football Club also co-operated fully with the authorities in 2003.

"The Club are in the process of a review and I won't be making any further comment until this is finalised".

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