NUM­BERS IN­CREASE AS ABUSE SCAN­DAL DEEP­ENS

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Ge­orge Evans

THE scale of the his­tor­i­cal child abuse scan­dal that has rocked English foot­ball over the last cou­ple of weeks con­tin­ues to grow.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, 83 po­ten­tial sus­pects have now been identified and 98 clubs span­ning all tiers of the game have been ‘im­pacted’.

The Na­tional So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to Chil­dren (NSPCC), the UK’s lead­ing chil­dren’s char­ity, says 98 per cent of those identified as vic­tims are male and the age range for po­ten­tial vic­tims at the time of al­leged abuse spans from seven to 20.

The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion plans to con­duct an in­ter­nal re­view to de­ter­mine whether it could and should have done more,

The scan­dal has deeped since for­mer Crewe, Bury and Sh­effield United player Andy Wood­ward, 43, waived his right to anonymity and told the

Guardian in mid-Novem­ber that he was sex­u­ally abused as a youth player.

Since he has spo­ken out, sev­eral other foot­ballers – in­clud­ing for­mer Tot­ten­ham and Eng­land mid­fielder Paul Ste­wart and ex-Manch­ester City striker David White – have told their sto­ries pub­licly.

Wood­ward has also joined with an­other for­mer Crewe player, Steve Wal­ters, and ex-Manch­ester City youth player Chris Unsworth to launch an in­de­pen­dent trust that will ‘fight for jus­tice’ and sup­port vic­tims.

At the launch of The Off­side Trust last Mon­day, Wood­ward said: “We do want jus­tice be­cause we all suf­fered a ter­ri­ble or­deal.

“We want to move for­ward so we can pro­tect the chil­dren suf­fer­ing right now... we just want to help peo­ple. That’s it.”

QPR say they are tak­ing al­le­ga­tions made against for­mer em­ployee Chris Gieler ‘very se­ri­ously’ and will ‘co-op­er­ate fully’ in any in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Charl­ton, Crewe and Manch­ester City have also opened in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­le­ga­tions of his­tor­i­cal abuse.

JUS­TICE: Andy Wood­ward

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