Football sex abuse: Junior clubs must get coaches cleared or face suspension

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Football child sex abuse scandal one of FA's biggest crises - Greg Clarke

Junior football clubs in England face suspension from the Football Association if their coaches have not been cleared to work with children.

The warning, in a letter to clubs from the FA, follows allegations of historical child abuse in the sport.

It is FA policy that all coaches of youth teams must have an FA accepted in-date criminal records check (CRC).

The FA says while 99.7% of clubs have been compliant, there are more than 2,500 coaches without an in-date CRC.

There are also nearly 5,000 youth teams without a named coach.

FA chairman Greg Clarke has written to clubs demanding they update their information on the FA's Whole Game System (WGS) by midnight on 15 January.

Failure to do so will mean "clubs will face suspension from all football activity without further notice", the FA says.

Furthermore, a club's affiliation will be removed as of midnight on 28 February if they remain non-compliant with the requirement that their coaches having an in-date CRC.

The letter warns clubs that if they "have a coach who is not compliant with this, you must not allow them to coach, train, supervise or assist at matches with any youth teams, until this requirement is met".

It continues: "This is an essential aspect of any club's responsibilities when working with U18s and, as a club, you are responsible for ensuring that no-one coaches, or has unsupervised access to children, until they have an FA accepted check."

The spotlight has fallen on abuse in football since a number of former footballers came forward publicly to tell their stories.

Police said in December there are 429 potential victims linked to football, some as young as four at the time of the alleged offence, and 148 clubs are now involved, with 155 potential suspects identified.

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