More revelations deepen football’s abuse crisis

Chelsea's captain John Terry (R) acknowledges spectators' applauss at the end of a friendly match with Sydney FC in the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 2, 2015.  Picture: AFP PHOTO/ Saeed KHAN
Chelsea’s captain John Terry (R) acknowledges spectators’ applauss at the end of a friendly match with Sydney FC in the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 2, 2015. File Photo.
Picture: AFP PHOTO/ Saeed KHAN

More than 860 people have called an English football sex abuse hotline in its first week, adding to pressure for action over the crisis in the sport.

Figures released yesterday by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children charity came after a former Newcastle United player joined the growing list of ex-footballers to reveal they were abused.

Fifteen police forces across Britain are now investigating cases.

The NSPCC helpline, supported by the English Football Association, received 50 calls within two hours of opening last week.

The group said helpline staff had also made 60 referrals to police or social services in the first three days.

The scale of the football abuse began to emerge after ex-footballers Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Paul Stewart revealed last week the abuse they had suffered at the hands of youth football coaches.

Convicted molester Barry Bennell has been accused by at least 20 footballers of abusing them when he worked for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City across three decades beginning in the 1970s.

He is the target of five separate police investigations and on Tuesday was charged with eight counts of child abuse, prosecutors said.

Former Newcastle player David Eatock is the latest player to speak out about his suffering.

Eatock was signed by Newcastle when Kevin Keegan was manager of the club.

Now 40, he said he had been a victim of former youth coach George Ormond, who was sentenced to six years in 2002 for offences committed over almost 25 years.

According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Premier League leaders Chelsea made a secret payment to an unnamed former youth team player who accused a talent scout, the late Eddie Heath, of sexually assaulting him during the 1970s.The sum was given on the condition the alleged abuse would not be made public, the newspaper reported.

Chelsea have only announced they had retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation.

The Football Association has set up an internal review headed by lawyer Kate Gallafent, an expert in child protection.

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