UK

Met football abuse inquiry covers four Premier League clubs

Boys playing football Image copyright Thinkstock

People linked to four Premier League football clubs in London are being investigated over historical sex abuse allegations, the Met Police have said.

Officers say they are looking at 106 claims related to 30 clubs or teams - including two in the Championship and three in Leagues One and Two.

Twenty-one non-league, non-professional or amateur teams are also involved.

It comes as the Scottish Football Association has set up an independent review of child abuse allegations.

Several former players have come forward in recent weeks to say they were abused as children by people in positions of authority.

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More than 20 UK police forces have confirmed they are investigating claims of historical child abuse in football.

Last week police chiefs said there were 83 potential suspects and 98 clubs involved.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said 98% of the identified victims were male and that they were aged between seven and 20 when they were allegedly abused.

In an update to the action being taken by the Met, Det Ch Supt Ivan Balhatchet said specialist officers would be working through information passed to them.

He added: "The number of referrals, pieces of information and allegations will change."

He urged anyone who had been the victim of sexual assault to contact their local force, or call the NSPCC help line on 0800 023 2642.

Internal review

Thirteen London-based clubs are in the four top English football league divisions, with five in the Premier League - Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Crystal Palace.

The Met did not name any of the clubs involved in its inquiries.

Chelsea, however, have already apologised to former player Gary Johnson over abuse he suffered in the 1970s and are conducting their own review.

QPR say they are taking allegations made against a former employee "very seriously", while Charlton Athletic have also opened an investigation into historical abuse allegations.

The sport's governing body in England, the Football Association, has said it plans to conduct an internal review to determine whether it could or should have done more.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland has revealed that about 2,500 coaches are working in youth football in Scotland without having full background checks.

Of the 15,385 coaches registered with the Scottish Youth Football Association, 2,500 had not had Protecting Vulnerable Groups clearance.

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