Football: No cover-up over child abuse, says FA chief

London (AFP) - England's Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn does not believe there has been a cover-up of child abuse within British football, he said on Thursday.

Fifteen British police forces are probing claims of abuse by youth coaches after a succession of former players came forward to speak out about being molested when they were children.

The FA has launched an internal review, but although the body's chairman Greg Clarke said he could not rule out a cover-up, Glenn took a different stance.

"It will help uncover some issues that can't happen again, but do I think there has been a cover-up? I doubt it," Glenn told a press conference at Wembley to unveil new England manager Gareth Southgate.

"The FA has since the late 1990s taken child safety extremely seriously. We wrote it into the standard chartered rules that there should be safety officers.

"It was a time when society was very different. For 10 years, we have had a relationship with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

"Within society there is a wider acceptance it is unacceptable. These crimes are a combination of motive and opportunity and I think the opportunities are much less than they were 20 years ago."

Clarke has called the developing scandal "the greatest crisis" he could recall in English football.

Chelsea have opened an investigation after claims they paid off a former player who had been abused by a scout at the club during the 1970s on the condition he would keep his silence.

Glenn said the FA would come down hard on any club found to have hushed up reports of abuse.

"We need to be clear, FA chairman Greg Clarke is committed to a full review shining a torch on what has happened in the past in football," he said. "If there has been evidence of hushing up, when it's our turn to apply the rules we absolutely will, regardless of the size of club."