Fourteen police forces across the UK are now investigating claims of historical child sex abuse in football after receiving calls from more than 250 people.

It means that more than a quarter of the UK’s constabularies are now looking into allegations, with Avon and Somerset, Essex, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, North Wales and Dorset constabularies the latest to confirm.

Earlier on Wednesday, Police Scotland and Cambridgeshire Constabulary said they too were looking into claims of non-recent abuse.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Chisholm said 250 people had contacted police in England and Wales alone over recent days.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police confirmed officers were investigating an allegation relating to child abuse within football, but said they are in the early stages and could not comment further.

Essex Police also confirmed they had received information relating to allegations of non-recent child abuse within the football community and said the claims would be reviewed and investigated accordingly.

North Wales Police Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams said they are in receipt of a number of reports of non-recent sexual abuse within a football setting.

He added: We are currently working with the national centre, Operation Hydrant, to ensure our response is co-ordinated and efficient; the people who have courageously reported what happened to them are central in our considerations in this regard.

Operation Hydrant is the National Police Chiefs Council’s ‘hub’ which aims to co-ordinate child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told MPs the national child abuse inquiry headed by Professor Alexis Jay is also considering whether to look at abuse in football as part of its overarching probe.

FA chairman Greg Clarke has admitted he cannot be sure whether historical abuse in football had been covered up, and has described the scandal as the biggest crisis he has ever seen the sport face.

Meanwhile, another ex-footballer has come forward and told The Guardian that he had suffered horrendous sexual assault in the late 1970s.

Derek Bell, a former professional with Newcastle United, waived his anonymity to tell the paper he was groomed and violated between the ages of 12 and 16 by a former coach at a boys’ football club.

Bell plucked up the courage many years after the abuse took place to tell police.

Former Northern Ireland, Stoke and Wimbledon player Mark Williams has told Sky News he too was abused.

On Tuesday, Chelsea FC said they had asked an external law firm to conduct an investigation into a former employee who worked at the club in the 1970s and is now dead.

Ministers are in the process of writing to all national sporting bodies and asking them to redouble their efforts to protect children in the wake of the unfolding scandal.

The Metropolitan Police and forces in Staffordshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Cheshire and Northumbria are all investigating reports of abuse.

Peterborough United have said they will assist the police, the FA, the Professional Footballers’ Association and football’s other governing bodies in the child sex abuse investigation.

Cambridge United said they too had been contacted by police regarding allegations that date back to the 1990s and earlier.


(c) Sky News 2016: Football child sex abuse scandal: 14 forces now involved