FA appoints councillor to lead inquiry into sex abuse allegations

The Football Association have appointed a independent legal councillor to lead an inquiry into allegations of historic abuse at football clubs around Britain.

According the Player’s Football Association, more than 20 players have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

Abuse has allegedly taken place at Blackpool, Manchester City, Stoke City, Leeds United and Newcastle.

Crewe Alexandra launched an independent investigation over the weekend after former players, Andy Woodward, Chris Unsworth, Steve Walters and Jason Dunford spoke out publicly about abuse they had received at the hands of former coach and convicted sex offender Barry Bennell.

The NSPCC have set up a hotline in light of the allegations, which received over 50 calls within two hours of being set up. The hotline is supported by the FA and can be reached at 0800 023 2642.

An FA statement read: “The FA has instructed independent leading counsel Kate Gallafent QC to assist it with a review into the abuse cases which have recently come to light.”

“The FA had already initiated an internal review which Ms Gallafent will now oversee, while it continues to also prioritise victim support and providing full assistance to ongoing police inquiries.”

“”At this time, with acknowledgement that a wide-ranging inquiry may be required in time, we are working closely with the police to support their lead investigations and must ensure we do not do anything to interfere with or jeopardise the criminal process.”

“The internal review will look into what information The FA was aware of at the relevant times around the issues that have been raised in the press, what clubs were aware of, and what action was or should have been taken.”

More allegations are expected to come to light, with PFA Chairman Gordon Taylor it would be “naïve” to think the problem is not more widespread.

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