British police officials say hundreds of people have filed reports of child sex abuse within the country’s football system.
In a statement released on Thursday, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said 350 people had approached police forces across the UK with allegations of child abuse in football clubs.
Officials said the police would be investigating all of the reports they receive, with many believed to be dating back decades.
“We continue to encourage those who have been the victim of child sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place,” said Chief Constable Simon Bailey, NPCC spokesperson.
“We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.”
The police statement came as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said it had received more than 800 calls on a dedicated phone line set up to report abuse in football.
“The number of prominent footballers bravely speaking out about their ordeal has rightly caught the attention of the entire country,” said Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive.
“We have had a staggering surge in calls to our football hotline which reveals the worrying extent of abuse that had been going on within the sport.”
The flood of reports follows revelations by former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward detailed abuse he suffered in the 1980s.
Read More: aljazeera