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Chelsea did not break Premier League rules in not reporting abuse allegations

Chelsea did not break Premier League rules in not reporting allegations of historical abuse made in 2014 by their former player Gary Johnson.

Chelsea apologised to Johnson for the abuse he suffered as a trainee in the 1970s earlier this month, having waived the confidentiality clause in the £50,000 agreement they made with Johnson in 2015.

Johnson, now 57, told the Daily Mirror that he was assaulted multiple times over a three-year period by the club's chief scout Eddie Heath, who is now dead.

A Premier League statement on Thursday night read: "After careful consideration, the board has determined that no Premier League rules were broken by the club not reporting this matter to them in 2014.

" The League has requested that Chelsea agrees to a full safeguarding audit from an independent safeguarding expert. The League has no reason to have any concerns about Chelsea's current provisions in this area but, given the seriousness of these historical allegations, feels that such a review is an appropriate course of action.

"The League has also requested details of the current review the club has asked an external law firm to undertake into historical abuse and how it handled Mr Johnson's claim, and that a full copy of the review is provided to the Premier League and The FA upon its completion.

"Chelsea has agreed to these requests."

Press Association Sport understands Chelsea were not obliged to report the 2014 allegations to the Premier League, under the league's rules at the time, as they had not been reported to any external body. That rule is understood to have been changed last summer, now requiring all safeguarding allegations to be reported.

T he Premier League has contacted all its clubs to ensure they are aware of the avenues open to them if they have concerns, and written to the parents of the clubs' academy players to highlight provisions currently in place. The English Football League too has been in touch with its 72 clubs, all of whom have renewed their commitment to the welfare of their young players.

The Football Association Board was told at its meeting on Thursday that 99 per cent of its grass roots affiliated youth clubs, encompassing 62,238 teams, have renewed their safeguarding commitment to ensure the game is played in "a safe and fun environment".

Those clubs who have not completed the required paperwork ahead of the deadline have been temporarily suspended from all forms of football, including training, with the County FAs now working with them to resolve any issues, which in some cases could be administrative rather than a failure to comply with safeguarding standards.

FA chairman Greg Clarke spoke to Andy Woodward last month and has met other alleged abuse victims Ian Ackley, Derek Bell, Paul Stewart and David White this week.

Clarke told the FA's official website: "I was humbled to hear their stories and their thoughts on safeguarding children in football, both past and present.

"We will continue to listen to victims and survivors throughout this process and look forward to maintaining this constructive dialogue."

The scale of the sexual abuse scandal has rocked football.

According to information gathered by Operation Hydrant - the UK-wide police investigation into non-recent child sexual abuse - 148 clubs are now involved, with 155 potential suspects and 429 victims, aged between four and 20.

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