London (AFP) – Children as young as four may have been molested as part of the deepening sexual abuse scandal that has shaken British football, police revealed on Wednesday.
In an update on the scandal, Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there have been significant rises in the numbers of clubs implicated, suspects and potential victims.
A probe of child sexual abuse in Britain, Operation Hydrant, is looking at 148 clubs, 155 potential suspects and 429 victims aged from four to 20 at the time of the alleged offences. Most of it happened more than 20 years ago.
Several ex-professional players have come forward to allege abuse at the hands of youth coaches after Andy Woodward revealed last month he was abused by a convicted child molester at Crewe Alexandra.
The latest NPCC figures, which cover football from the popular Premier League down to grass-roots level, follow 819 referrals to Operation Hydrant.
Three-quarters of the referrals have come from a dedication helpline set up by England’s Football Association and charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
The remaining referrals have come from British police forces.
Ninety-eight percent of the identified victims are male and the NPCC confirmed other sports have been cited.
There had been 639 referrals, 98 clubs implicated and 83 suspects at the time of the last NPCC update on December 9.
The NPCC is still urging victims of child sexual abuse in British football to come forward.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- What it’s like watching the Premier League from Hawaii
- Ineos billionaire Ratcliffe ‘potential buyer’ of Man Utd
- Mendy rape accuser tells UK court she tried to fight off footballer
- Man Utd legend Giggs cites disciplinary record in assault trial
- Christian Pulisic’s ominous, but necessary, move to Man United
- Sevilla sign youngster Nianzou from Bayern
- Ronaldo cautioned by police after allegedly slapping phone from fan’s hand
- PSG defender Kehrer joins West Ham
- Dubai airport gears up to handle World Cup supporters
- Ronaldo blasts ‘lies’ over Man Utd future