248 clubs in UK sex abuse allegations

LONDON • The number of clubs affected by British football's historical child sexual abuse scandal has grown to 248.

The number of clubs - both amateur and professional - has risen by 100 since the last update four weeks ago, according to figures released on Wednesday by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

The growing wave of accusations comes after a series of former footballers came forward following the decision of former Crewe defender Andy Woodward to reveal that he had been a victim of sexual abuse.

Woodward's account triggered a flood of allegations from other players.

Operation Hydrant, the coordination hub set up in 2014 to deal with historic abuse cases, has so far received 1,016 referrals from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)'s dedicated football hotline and police forces around the country, up from 819 before Christmas.

The operation has so far identified 184 suspects and 526 potential victims, of whom 97 per cent are male, with ages ranging from four to 20 when the alleged abuse took place.

The majority of these referrals relate to football but victims from 22 other sports - including rugby, gymnastics, tennis, swimming and golf - have been identified.

The Football Association has also instigated an independent review, led by Clive Sheldon QC, into its handling of abuse allegations in the years before 2005.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2017, with the headline '248 clubs in UK sex abuse allegations'. Print Edition | Subscribe