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Probe widens into sex abuse at UK youth football clubs


Investigations by British police into the sexual abuse of youngsters within English football has widened as more former players speak out about being abused as children by their coaches.

The number of individuals speaking about the abuse they suffered has grown. At least eight footballers have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse within the sport dating back to the 1980s.

Jason Dunford, once a youth player with Manchester City, alleged Friday that a football pedophile ring was covered up.

The sexual allegations have been made against several coaches but have so far centered mainly on Barry Bennell, a youth coach with Manchester City.

Last week, Andy Woodward became the first player to disclose publicly the abuse he suffered by Bennell, triggering a flow of similar claims.

Bennell has been jailed three times for offences that included the rape and abuse of boys. He was jailed for a third time in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to abusing a boy at a football camp in 1980 in Macclesfield, England.

Britain’s Professional Footballers’ Association chief says he expects the number of players coming forward will continue to rise.

According to authorities, a dedicated hotline, set up after the abuse claims came to light, has so far received more than 100 calls.

Recent figures show the number of UK child sex abuse cases reported to police is dramatically on the rise, with cases being passed to police at a rate of 100 a month by the public inquiry set up following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Savile, a BBC radio and television presenter who died in 2011, was accused of numerous allegations of sexual abuse stretching back six decades.

An Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in Britain was announced by then-UK Home Secretary Theresa May on July 7, 2014.

Simon Bailey, head of the national coordinating unit Operation Hydrant, said in May that his team was expecting to be given 30,000 reports of new child sexual offenses by the end of the inquiry.

He calculated that the continuing increase would mean that by 2020, police across the country would be investigating 200,000 cases of child sexual abuse.

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