The scale of the sexual abuse crisis engulfing professional football is growing by the day, with increasing numbers of former players coming forward to reveal details of their own suffering.
A hotline set up by the NSPCC received more than 50 calls within its first two hours on Thursday after a number of ex-professionals waived their right to anonymity and detailed how they had been targeted by paedophile coaches.
One of the players who spoke out, former Tottenham and Liverpool midfielder Paul Stewart, said the sport could face allegations on the scale of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Among the others to subsequently tell their own stories of abuse were former Crewe Alexandra players Andy Woodward, Steve Walters, Chris Unsworth and Jason Dunford, and ex-Manchester City player David White.
The allegations first surfaced when Mr Woodward, 43, spoke publicly about his abuse by former Crewe coach and youth football scout Barry Bennell, 62, who has served three jail sentences for child sex offences.
In 2001, the Football Association put in place new rules to protect children, requiring adult and junior teams at all levels to have a trained safeguarding or welfare officer.
But former FA chief executive Mark Palios said high-profile clubs were “more easily regulated” than grassroots clubs, which rely largely on volunteer workers who are more difficult to direct.
NSPCC figures show that across the UK, boys are five times less likely to speak up about sexual abuse than girls.
How can our Personal Injury Lawyers help?
Gotelee Solicitors have a specialist team of Suffolk lawyers who can provide sensitive care and expert guidance to people who may wish to bring civil claims for compensation as a result of sexual abuse in their past.
The Suffolk law firm, which has offices in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Melton, Hadleigh or Woodbridge, is partnered with Ipswich charity Survivors in Transition (SiT) to help navigate victims through the process. SiT aims to empower survivors to take control of their lives and cope better with the daily effects the abuse has left them with.
Gotelee are members of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, which help to bring together a team of experts, including doctors, counsellors, psychiatrists and specialist barristers.
For more or assistance on this matter, please contact Nadia Bolton on 01473 298125 or by email at [email protected]