More than 520 suspected victims of alleged sexual abuse in football have now come forward, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) said on 18 January.

Detectives also revealed the number of potential suspects has risen to 184 involving some 248 clubs spanning all tiers of football in the UK, including the Premier League.

Ninety-eight per cent of those identified as victims are male with them aged between four and 20, the NPCC added.

The flood of allegations come after a series of top players went public late last year with claims they had been abused while at clubs' youth systems and academies.

Since then, the NPCC and police forces across the UK are dealing with 1016 reports from potential witnesses, some 526 of which are suspected victims.

The vast majority of referrals relate to football, but about 22 relate to other sports including rugby, gymnastics, martial arts, tennis, wrestling, golf, sailing, athletics, cricket, and swimming.

All allegations are being dealt with under Operation Hydrant, launched in 2014 to deal with cases of historic child abuse.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, NPCC lead for child protection, said: "Operation Hydrant is beginning to see a decrease in the number of referrals being received via the NSPCC helpline and directly to forces relating to allegations of abuse within football, and other sports.

"Allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse are complex, and often require specialist skills and knowledge, and can take time to progress. However, all allegations and information received by police forces across the country are being acted upon.

"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."


The FA is supporting a 24-hour hotline set up by the NSPCC. It can be reached on 0800 023 2642.