Football child abuse claims under investigation by South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire Police has received three reports of historic child abuse in football, it has emerged today.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 11:28 am
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 8:41 am
Andy Woodward

Details were revealed at a meeting of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's public accountability board in Sheffield this morning.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Barber said: "We have had three historic reports. It is not appropriate to discuss in any great detail."

She said the allegations relate to the 1960s and 1980s and added that the number of reported crimes in South Yorkshire are 'not to the extent we have seen elsewhere'.

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She revealed that reports of abuse had been received by the force after Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Sioned-Mair Richards, said: "We have recently had all the stuff in the press about historic child sexual exploitation arising from football clubs.

"Having so many professional clubs and amateur clubs in South Yorkshire, I wondered whether we have had anything raised?"

Police forces across the country have received reports of historic child abuse involving those in the football community since former Sheffield United player 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.

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.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "South Yorkshire Police is one of a number of forces across the country currently reviewing reports of non-recent child abuse within the football community."