The FA continues to work closely with the relevant authorities and respects the on-going investigation by the police being coordinated by Operation Hydrant into childhood sexual abuse in football.
An internal review led by external legal counsel will look into what information The FA was aware of at the relevant times around the issues that have been raised in the press.
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 this process.
We continue to encourage anyone who was a childhood victim of sexual abuse in football to call the specially commissioned NSPCC helpline on 0800 023 2642 which is staffed by independent, experienced NSPCC professionals and available 24 hours a day, who will signpost people on to further support.
Here is the Operation Hydrant statement: Updated 15/12/16
Following widespread national publicity regarding allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football, many police forces across the country continue to receive an increased number of calls from victims and from people offering information.
The information is forwarded by forces to Operation Hydrant, along with referrals from the NSPCC helpline, as part of the process of operational coordination across the police service.
Operation Hydrant collates this information, cross references it to avoid duplication of investigation, and ensures information and intelligence is shared across forces. The process of operational coordination is complex and detailed, and remains ongoing, meaning that figures provided may fluctuate.
Statistics released today by Operation Hydrant provide an indicative* national figure in relation to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse within football. The figures are accurate at the time of publication, but may change as forces progress local investigations and as the information offered is further analysed.
819 referrals have been received by Operation Hydrant from the NSPCC helpline and directly from police forces.
- The analysis of information received by Operation Hydrant is ongoing with processes to determine if the referral relates to a victim or a witness and whether the information received is new or a duplication of information already received.
- To ensure that any figure released into the public domain remains completely accurate, we will not at this stage be breaking down this figure any further.
- This figure does not equate to the number of victims.
- 605 referrals came from the NSPCC, and 214 from police Forces.
The indicative number of victims now stands at 429.
- This is an indicative figure based on the information available at the time of publication, and may fluctuate.
155 potential suspects have been identified.
148 football clubs have been impacted.
- This does not equate to 148 football clubs under investigation, but instead refers to the number of clubs referenced when information is submitted.
- The figure spans all tiers of football, from premier clubs through to amateur.
98 per cent of those identified as victims are male.
The age range for potential victims at the time of the abuse spans 4 years through to 20 years.
The vast majority of referrals relate to football. However, a number of other sports have also been the subject of a referral.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said,
“Allegations received by police forces across the country are being swiftly acted upon.
“We are ensuring an efficient and effective service-wide approach to investigating allegations, removing the potential for duplication and enabling the timely and effective sharing of intelligence and information between forces. We are also liaising closely with the Football Association to ensure all relevant information they hold is shared to inform investigations moving forward.
“We continue to urge anyone who may have been a victim of child sexual abuse to report it by dialling 101, or contacting the dedicated NSPCC helpline, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place. We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.
“When allegations are reported it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and ensure that appropriate action is being taken to prevent children being abused today.
“As the number of calls being received across the service is higher than usual, it may take longer than normal for an officer from a local force to make contact to follow up from the initial call. Please be assured that the information provided will be taken seriously and acted upon.”