Football child sex abuse: England and Wales Cricket Board contacts counties

Paul Stewart, David White, Steve Walters and Andy Woodward
Former footballers Paul Stewart, David White, Steve Walters and Andy Woodward (left to right) have waived their right to anonymity

The England and Wales Cricket Board has written to all counties in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal in football, but has not been informed of any new allegations in the sport.

Similarly, the Professional Cricketers' Association has not been contacted by anyone prompted to come forward by high-profile cases in football.

The ECB has contacted all 18 first-class counties, 39 county boards and other partners, reminding them of safeguarding procedures and responsibilities.

Avenues for reporting cases concerning cricket were open long before the reports that affected football, but neither the ECB or PCA have been made aware of any new cases.

"No-one can be complacent and we are always looking to improve and learn from best practice, in the game and from elsewhere," an ECB spokesman said.

"ECB is totally committed to offering a safe environment for everyone in cricket and we take our safeguarding responsibilities very seriously."

Similarly, Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Richie said that his sport had not been notified of any child abuse allegations since the football crisis began.

"I've not heard of anything historically with the RFU as in football but you can never tell," he told BBC Sport. "You have to be ever-vigilant.

"There are cases that have happened in rugby historically and when you look at the number of children playing there's a certain sad inevitability that there's going to be these instances.

"We do 13,000 record checks a year, there are hundreds of thousands of children playing rugby, we have a substantial safeguarding unit which has former police officers in it. It's an ongoing challenge."

Several former footballers have waived their right to anonymity to speak of the abuse they received.

According to police, 98 professional and amateur clubs have been "impacted" and 21 police forces have opened investigations.

A dedicated sexual abuse helpline, set up by the NSPCC and supported by the Football Association, received 860 calls within its first three days.

The number for the PCA's confidential helpline, for professional cricketers past and present, is 0844 800 6873, while the ECB can be contacted through www.ecb.co.uk/safeguarding.

"We always encourage anyone with any concerns to contact the safeguarding team or relevant authorities and assure them that we would work swiftly and sensitively should they have anything to report," the ECB added.

The ECB has also asked two members of its board, Lucy Pearson and Jim Wood, to review its safeguarding policies.

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