255 football sexual abuse claims probed among 77 London clubs
Officers investigating non-recent sexual abuse at football clubs in London have said they are looking into 255 allegations involving 77 clubs or teams, including the capital's five Premier League clubs, the Metropolitan Police said.
The investigative team, with officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said on Monday they have received 255 separate allegations of historical sexual abuse.
It is understood all five of London's Premier League teams - Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and West Ham - are involved in the investigation.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "The allegations are connected with individuals at 77 named clubs or teams.
"The breakdown for those clubs is: f ive in the Premiership (Premier League), t hree against Championship clubs, t hree against clubs in Leagues One and Two and t here have also been 66 other named clubs which would include non-league or non-professional or amateur teams."
Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet, of the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "The Met take all allegations seriously, and specialist officers will work through the information passed to them.
"Anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault should contact their local force, or call the NSPCC helpline on 0800 023 2642.
"The Met will not be giving a commentary as this investigation develops and is not discussing the names of the clubs involved, or the number of allegations against each club."
Earlier this month, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), which is co-ordinating the nationwide police investigation Operation Hydrant, said more than 500 complainants and 184 potential suspects had been identified by police investigating football's child sex abuse scandal.
The inquiry involves up to 248 football clubs, spanning all tiers of the game from the Premier League down to amateur level.
Latest figures show the total number of potential victims standing at 526, with 97% identified as male. Their ages span from 20 to four.
A spokesman for Crystal Palace said: " We have had no contact from the Metropolitan Police so we have no idea whether these allegations relate to Crystal Palace FC. Clearly, should we be contacted, we will co-operate fully with any inquiry and give every possible assistance to the police in their investigations.
"We urge anyone aware of any instances of abuse that have ever taken place at the club, or who has been a victim, to report it to the police or contact the FA's NSPCC helpline."
A spokesman for Tottenham Hotspur said: "We have not been contacted regarding any allegations."
Arsenal declined to comment.
Chelsea have previously said the club is assisting the Metropolitan Police and the Football Association with their investigations.