Football rocked by abuse allegations
English football is reeling after a string of child abuse allegations have come to light in recent days. The scandal is centred around former youth coach and scout Barry Bennell, who was jailed on three separate occasions for abusing young boys.
Cheshire Police have confirmed that allegations have been made against more than one person to the NSPCC counselling hotline as part of a growing number of disclosures of historic child sexual abuse in football.
The update from Cheshire Constabulary comes after two more footballers, Jason Dunford and Chris Unsworth, revealed that they were victim of child sex abuse by their football coaches during the early years of their careers.
Former Crewe Alexandra striker Andy Woodward revealed to The Guardian last week that he was the victim of sex abuse while he was part of the club’s youth teams, and said that the convicted paedophile Bennell abused him for a number of years before he was charged and convicted.
As historic abuse allegations emerged there have now been a number of hotlines set up in order for any other victims to come forward and contact police and receive counselling. Woodward and Walters were both abused by Bennel while they were at Crewe, while White played for Manchester City Academy – having joined from Salford Boys – before going on to play for Leeds and Sheffield United as well as England.
Stewart started his career at Blackpool before moving to City, and later played for Tottenham, Liverpool and Crystal Palace among other clubs as well as his country.
The footballing world was united in its horror and concern at the stories and there are growing concerns that this could be the tip of the iceberg with there being a real danger that there was systematic abuse occurring.
Similar to the BBC scandal that enveloped the organisation after the horrific uncovering of historical crimes by Jimmy Saville there is now a large scale operation in place for authorities to investigate any allegations.