Football Association UK sports-linked sex abuse victims rise substantially

The number of victims stands at 741 -- up from 560 in April -- whilst the list of potential suspects has also grown from 252 to 276.

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The number sports-related sex abuse victims in the UK stands at 741 -- up from 560 in April -- whilst the list of potential suspects has also grown from 252 to 276 in the figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council play

The number sports-related sex abuse victims in the UK stands at 741 -- up from 560 in April -- whilst the list of potential suspects has also grown from 252 to 276 in the figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council

(AFP/File)
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The number of victims of historical sex abuse crimes in all sports in the UK but primarily football has risen by nearly 200 in the past three months, according to police figures released on Tuesday.

The number of victims stands at 741 -- up from 560 in April -- whilst the list of potential suspects has also grown from 252 to 276 in the figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC).

The ages of the victims at the time of the abuse -- 96% of whom are male -- range from four to 20, according to the information garnered in the inquiry of child sexual abuse in Britain code-named Operation Hydrant.

A hotline was set up to report abuse since the scandal broke late last year since when police forces across the United Kingdom received an increased number of calls from victims and from people offering information.

Whilst football has the preponderance of both victims and alleged perpetrators -- 328 clubs from Premier League to amateur sides are of interest to the investigation -- other sports have been implicated in 27 referrals.

They include basketball, rugby, gymnastics, martial arts, tennis, wrestling, golf, sailing, athletics, cricket and swimming.

NPCC lead for child protection Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who is leading the inquiry, said information received by police will be used to prevent more children being abused.

"Allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse are complex, and often require specialist skills and knowledge, and can take time to progress," he said.

"However, all allegations and information received by police forces across the country are being acted upon."

"We continue to urge anyone who may have been a victim of child sexual abuse to report it, if they are ready to do so, by contacting the dedicated NSPCC helpline, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place."

"We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously."

"Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward."

Several ex-professional players have come forward publicly to allege abuse at the hands of youth coaches after Andy Woodward revealed last November he was abused by a convicted child molester at Crewe Alexandra.

English football's governing body the Football Association (FA) is also carrying out an independent review into its handling of abuse allegations in the years before 2005.

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