Football child abuse scandal: Number of claims tops 1,000

Boys playing football Image copyright Thinkstock

More than 1,000 cases relating to child sexual abuse within football clubs in the UK have been reported to police.

Updated figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council also show that 184 potential suspects have been identified.

The 526 potential victims ranged in age from four to 20.

There are 248 clubs impacted by investigations - but that total refers to the number of clubs referenced when people came forward.

Prevent abuse

The number of cases referred to Operation Hydrant, the over-arching inquiry into historical child abuse allegations, has now reached 1,016.

The NPCC's lead for child protection, chief constable Simon Bailey, said the number of referrals was beginning to decrease but he continued to urge people to report allegations by dialling 101 or contacting the NSPCC helpline.

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

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

"When allegations are reported it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and ensure that appropriate action is being taken to prevent children being abused today."

The scandal came to light after a number of former footballers came forward publicly to tell their stories.

Child sex abuse in football


potential victims


potential suspects

  • 1,016 referrals to Operation Hydrant from police forces and NSPCC helpline

  • 248 football clubs impacted from Premier League to amateur

  • 4 to 20 years age range of victims at the time of alleged abuse

  • 98% of potential victims are male


Most referrals to Operation Hydrant have related to football but there have been 22 related to sports outside of football.

These have included rugby, gymnastics, martial arts, tennis, wrestling, golf, sailing, athletics, cricket, and swimming.

  • The hotline set up by the NSPCC is available 24 hours a day on 0800 0232642.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites