Football sex abuse: 8,000 youth clubs renew FA safeguarding commitment

The four players to speak publicly have each waived their right to anonymity as sex abuse victims. (Left to right) Paul Stewart, David White, Steve Walters and Andy Woodward have also gone public with their ordeals
Paul Stewart, David White, Steve Walters and Andy Woodward (left to right) have gone public with their ordeals, waiving their right to anonymity as sex abuse victims

More than 8,000 youth football clubs have renewed their safeguarding commitment with the Football Association since the sport's child sexual abuse scandal emerged.

However, clubs that have missed the confirmation deadline - under 2% of the total number - have been suspended.

There are 155 suspects in the UK-wide football child abuse investigation.

"The response by English football at all levels has been commendable," said FA chairman Greg Clarke.

The FA has also written to the parents of academy footballers "to highlight the high standard of safeguarding provisions currently in place at clubs".

The spotlight has fallen on abuse in football since a number of former footballers came forward publicly to tell their stories, and the number of suspects has almost doubled in a fortnight.

Police say there are now 429 potential victims linked to football, some as young as four at the time of the alleged offence, and 148 clubs are now involved.

Clarke talked to former professional Andy Woodward, who was sexually abused as a boy in the 1980s while at Crewe, last month and met others who have publicly come forward - Ian Ackley, Derek Bell, Paul Stewart and David White - this week.

"I was humbled to hear their stories and their thoughts and views on safeguarding children in football, both past and present," said Clarke.

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

The FA's independent review into the allegations, led by Clive Sheldon QC, has requested access to all FA documents relating to child sex abuse from 1970 to 2005.

Early in the new year, the review will contact all clubs in England and Wales to request information about the allegations during that time period, and clubs' interaction with the FA.

Top Stories