LONDON • Police have identified 83 potential suspects in the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked English football and believe 98 clubs from all levels have been "impacted", the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) revealed yesterday.
The NPCC added that 98 per cent of the victims, believed to total 350, are male.
Their ages at the time of the alleged abuse - dating back to the 1970s - range from seven to 20.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the figures reflected the seriousness of the scandal.
"These shocking numbers now identified by police reveal the deeply disturbing extent of abuse that has been going on within football," said an NSPCC spokesman.
The NPCC said all calls were being treated seriously and being dealt with as quickly as possible.
A total of 639 referrals have been relayed to Operation Hydrant, which is the overall police investigation into historic sex abuse and the body that will analyse the claims.
"We are ensuring an efficient and effective service-wide approach to investigating allegations, removing the potential for duplication and enabling the timely and effective sharing of intelligence and information between forces," said Simon Bailey, who leads the NPCC on child protection issues.
"We are also liaising closely with the Football Association to ensure all relevant information they hold is shared to inform investigations moving forward."