Sport bodies told to review child safety

Football behind a goal net Image copyright PA

The UK's major sporting bodies have been told to ensure child protection in their sport is "as robust as possible".

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has written to 40 national bodies urging them to assess whether any historical claims of abuse need investigating.

Some 250 people have now contacted police after ex-footballers spoke out about abuse they suffered as children.

Chelsea FC has begun an investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse by a club employee in the 1970s.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the club said the allegations concerned a former employee who is now dead.

Eight police forces in England and Police Scotland are also looking into claims of historic abuse in the sport.

'Safe as possible'

In the letter - which was sent to 40 domestic governing bodies, including those for cricket, tennis, rugby union and rugby league - Ms Crouch urged officials to assess "whether there are any historic allegations of abuse that would merit investigation or reinvestigation".

The organisations were told consider whether they have processes in place for managing and investigating allegations.

They were also told to make sure processes for safeguarding children and young people "are as robust as possible".

Ms Crouch wrote: "I am sure you share my view that the sport sector needs to do everything it can to ensure that if proven allegations are found there is justice for the survivors of past abuse, and that sport today is as safe as it possibly can be."

The letter was sent to all sports that receive funding from Sport England.

Earlier, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told MPs the national child abuse inquiry headed by Professor Alexis Jay was considering whether to investigate abuse in football as part of its overarching probe.

Meanwhile, Baroness Chisholm told the House of Lords that 250 people have now contacted police in England and Wales.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said the scandal was one of the biggest crises in the history of the organisation.