Ex-Sheffield United player's sex abuse revelation leads to probes by three police forces

Andy Woodward was sexually abused as a young footballer

Andy Woodward was sexually abused as a young footballer

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An ex-Sheffield United player's revelation that he was sexually abused by a football coach has led to investigations by five police forces so far.

Andy Woodward, aged 43, waived his right to anonymity to reveal that he was abused by renowned football coach and talent scout Barry Bennell from the age of 11, when he was a youth player at Crewe Alexandra.
He said be believed there were other victims and since speaking out more than 20 former players have come forward to say they too were abused by Bennell and other coaches.

Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police and Hampshire, Cheshire and Northumbria police forces have launched investigations.

Bennell was jailed for four years in 1994 for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida.

He was then jailed for nine years in 1998 for 23 offences against six boys in England and was handed a two-year sentence in 2015 for abusing a boy at a football camp in Macclesfield in 1980.

Damian Collins MP, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has accused the FA of being slow in responding to the growing scandal.

English football's governing body appointed senior lawyer Kate Gallafent QC to assist with its review into historical child sex abuse allegations starting in the 1970s.

As many as seven professional clubs are embroiled in the growing scandal, with more than 20 former players alleging they were victims, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has said.

Bennell, who worked for Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke and junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands, also worked in a children's home.

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