Northern Ireland

Ex-Celtic youth coach Jim McCafferty arrested over sex-abuse allegations

Jim McCafferty Image copyright Alan Lewis
Image caption Jim McCafferty initially worked for Celtic as a scout

A former Celtic Football Club youth coach has been arrested by police in Northern Ireland over allegations of sexual offences against children.

Jim McCafferty, who previously lived in Glasgow and joined Celtic in 1990, now lives in Belfast.

The alleged victims are believed to have been in their mid-teens.

A police spokesperson said: "A 71-year-old male has been arrested by detectives after presenting himself at a station in Belfast.

"He was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences against children in Northern Ireland. He is currently helping police with their enquiries."

Mr McCafferty initially worked for Celtic as a scout, later becoming one of the club's kit men and working with the youth team.

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In 1996 he left the Glasgow club suddenly, citing personal reasons.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Celtic FC said: "Yesterday the club was made aware of serious allegations by a national newspaper, which the club immediately passed to Police Scotland.

"The club understands that those allegations, which relate to a number of Scottish clubs, are under investigation by the police and it would therefore not be appropriate to comment at this time".

For several years Mr McCafferty worked for other Scottish clubs including Falkirk and Hibs, before moving to Northern Ireland about seven years ago.

This is the latest in a series of abuse allegations in football across England, Scotland and Wales.

Some 350 people have come forward to say they suffered sexual abuse as children at the hands of coaches.

On Tuesday, the PSNI announced it was investigating what are described as "a very small number" of allegations of child sexual abuse related to football clubs in Northern Ireland, although it is not yet clear which clubs are involved.

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