football abuse
The National Police Chiefs' Council said the victims of abuse in football were aged from four to 20 Getty

The number of potential victims in the football child abuse scandal now stands at 429, with more than 800 reports being recieved.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has also identified 155 potential suspects as part of the inquiry into alleged widespread abuse at football clubs across the UK.

A total of 148 clubs have been named so far ranging from Premier League teams to amateur sides, but the NPCC said this does not mean all are under investigation but instead refers to the number of clubs referenced when information is submitted.

The ages of the victims range from four to 20 years old at the time of the abuse, with 98% of them being male.

While a "vast majority" of these allegations relate to football, a number of other sports have also been the subject of the 816 referrals that have been received by police and a dedicated helpline set up by the children's charity NSPCC and the Football Association to deal with the claims.

NPCC 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."

The review into historical abuse within football was launched after several former players, including Crewe Alexandra's Andy Woodward and Steve Walters, spoke out about the alleged abuse they suffered as youngsters.