POLICE HAVE IDENTIFIED 83 potential suspects in the sex abuse scandal that has rocked English football and believe 98 clubs from all levels have been ‘impacted’, the National Police Chiefs Council said today.
The scandal – in which two men have been charged with sex abuse, although several of the coaches against whom allegations have been made are out of reach as they are dead – has seen over a third of all British police forces launch investigations.
The NPCC added that 98% of the victims – which is believed for the moment to total 350 – are male with their ages at the time of the alleged abuse ranging 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.
“Our football hotline, launched with the support of the FA, saw a staggering surge in calls in its first week and anyone who wants to contact us can continue to do so in confidence, with the knowledge they will be listened to and supported.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino yesterday vowed “zero tolerance” for child sex abuse, saying anyone found to have committed abuse should be banned from the sport “without question” and face criminal charges.
“There are few things in life, not just football life, worse than child (sex) abuse, so it has to be taken seriously,” he told reporters after a three-day FIFA summit in Singapore.
“There must be zero tolerance from a football perspective, but also a criminal perspective as well,” Infantino added.
We probably have to look into that with more care and more attention in order to prevent any potential child abuse in the future.
Asked if he was worried the scandal would grow into a much bigger issue beyond just the English Football Association, Infantino said: “Certainly what we have to do is to have it taken very seriously, and that’s what we’re doing now… looking at it very, very seriously.”
Comments are closed as two men have been charged.