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Third force probing football child abuse as ex-player says scandal bigger than Savile

By PA Reporters

The probe into child sexual abuse within football has widened, with a third police force receiving allegations.

Hampshire Police said its detectives were investigating historical abuse "within the football community".

The statement came after Cheshire Police revealed that "a growing number of disclosures'' had been made, and Northumbria Police said it was investigating a claim by an unnamed ex-Newcastle United player that he was abused in the club's youth system.

A string of former footballers have come forward since Andy Woodward became the first to speak out last week about abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted child molester Barry Bennell, a former Crewe Alexandra coach.

A total of three police forces - Cheshire, Northumbria and Hampshire - are now investigating claims of child sex abuse within the sport.

A number of the allegations came from the NSPCC charity, which this week established a dedicated hotline for football-related cases.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "These have included allegations made against more than one individual."

The development came after former Manchester City youth team player Jason Dunford alleged that a paedophile ring was running in professional football and was covered up as part of a conspiracy.

Mr Dunford, who waived his right to anonymity to make the allegations, claimed the scandal was bigger than the one involving former television presenter Jimmy Savile, and that football clubs had failed to protect youngsters.

He told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I believe there was a conspiracy and paedophile ring. There were people at those clubs who had a duty to look after boys coming through their system.

"I think that (Jimmy) Savile looks like a choirboy compared to this fella."

Former England and Manchester City players David White and Paul Stewart, and former Crewe Alexandra player Steve Walters, have also spoken out about being sexually abused by football coaches when they were children.

The NSPCC hotline, set up in response to the widening scandal, received 50 calls within the first two hours of its launch.

Belfast Telegraph


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