London

Charlton Athletic child abuse investigation announced

Eddie Heath Image copyright Hy Money
Image caption Scout Eddie Heath, who died in the 1980s, has been accused of abuse by players at Charlton and Chelsea

Charlton Athletic have begun an investigation into claims a youth player was sexually abused while at the club in the 1980s.

The accusations were made by Russell Davy in an interview with the Sunday Mirror.

Mr Davy said he has informed the Football Association that he had been abused in 1986 by scout Eddie Heath, who is now dead.

He said Heath began working at Charlton after working for Chelsea.

Charlton said in a statement: "Upon being made aware of an allegation of historical abuse in the early 1980s, Charlton Athletic has immediately activated an internal investigation the matter. We of course take the issue raised by Russell Davy seriously.

"Charlton Athletic is fully committed to working alongside the police and regulatory authorities to investigate any such historical allegation of abuse at the club.

"The club works closely with English football's governing bodies and have been in contact with the EFL to make them aware of this investigation.

"In addition, we would strongly encourage anyone with an allegation of, or information regarding, historic child abuse to report it to the NSPCC / FA Helpline on 0800 023 2642 and to the police, where specially trained staff will be able to provide advice and guidance."

The NSPCC children's charity has said more than 860 people have called its dedicated football hotline, set up a week ago after several former players alleged past abuse by coaches.

On Saturday, Chelsea FC apologised "profusely" to Gary Johnson over sex abuse he suffered as a youth team player in the 1970s.

Mr Johnson signed a confidentiality agreement in 2015 and accepted £50,000 from the club, but Chelsea did not accept liability.

In a statement, the club said Mr Johnson had "suffered unacceptably".

More on this story