Wales

FAW child abuse inquiry call by Stepping Stones help group

Boys playing football Image copyright Thinkstock

A group which helps abuse victims is calling for the Football Association of Wales to hold an inquiry into historical child sex abuse allegations in the sport.

Wrexham-based Stepping Stones' comments come after a number of Wales-based ex-players have come forward seeking help.

Both the English and Scottish FAs are holding inquiries with more than 1,000 cases reported to police in the UK.

The FAW said it was committed to safeguarding participants' safety.

"Although a full inquiry by the FAW is vital, our concern is for the historic survivors of these crimes," Stepping Stones director Joy Dyment said.

In December, three of Wales' four police forces said they were investigating allegations of historical child sexual abuse at football clubs.

It was at the same time that former footballers including Steve Walters launched the Offside Trust to support players who are victims of abuse.

'Taken seriously'

Mr Walters said: "We have been making approaches to the FAW for some time to follow the lead of the other British FAs and start their own inquiry into abuse in the game in Wales.

"We have had a number of individual Welsh based ex-players come forward to ourselves seeking support and it is for them that we are very keen to see an inquiry take place."

FAW safeguarding manager Sian Jones said: "The Football Association of Wales is fully committed to safeguarding and ensuring the welfare of all participants in football.

"We take any allegation, suspicion of harm, or concern extremely seriously and ensure this is managed in the appropriate manner.

"Since the revelations of non-recent abuse within football we have written to each club detailing how support can be accessed and urge anybody with any concerns, queries, or those who require support to come forward.

"Additionally, we have provided clubs with details as to what information parents/guardians should be provided with, and encourage those to ask questions of the organisation that their child is a part of."

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