Everything you need to know about the allegations of sex abuse in football

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There are now four police forces which are known to be investigating the growing abuse scandal in football. Here, we take a look at everything that has happened so far in the developing situation.

What sparked the investigations?

Andy Woodward
Andy Woodward came forward last week (Malcolm Croft/PA)

A string of former footballers have come forward since Andy Woodward became the first to speak out publicly last week about abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted child abuser Barry Bennell, a former Crewe Alexandra coach.

Chris Unsworth, 44, a former Crewe youngster who has also made allegations against Bennell, claimed it was "swept under the carpet".

Ex-England and Manchester City players David White and Paul Stewart and former Crewe Alexandra player Steve Walters have also spoken out about being sexually abused by football coaches as children.

Who is Barry Bennell?

Barry Bennell
Barry Bennell used to coach junior football (PA)

Bennell, who worked for Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke and several junior teams in north-west England and the Midlands, sexually abused young boys across three decades from the 1970s onwards.

He was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida in 1994 and then a nine-year sentence for 23 offences against six boys in England in 1998.

He was jailed for a third time in 2015 when he pleaded guilty to abusing a boy at a football camp in Macclesfield in 1980.

How are the police responding?

Scotland YArd
Four police forces are now investigating (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Scotland Yard is the latest police force to announce that they had received information about historical sexual abuse at football clubs.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said it will "assess any information it receives and ensure that victims are given the advice and support they need".

Hampshire Police said its detectives are investigating non-recent child abuse "within the football community".

Cheshire Police said it had received "a growing number of disclosures" and that allegations have been "made against more than one individual".

Northumbria Police said it was investigating an allegation by an unnamed former Newcastle United player that he was abused in the club's youth system.

Some of the claims have come from the NSPCC, which this week set up a dedicated hotline for football-related cases.

How is everyone else responding?

Premier League
The Premier League are understandably concerned by the revelations (Nick Potts/PA)

The Premier League said it is "very concerned" by allegations and offered its sympathy and support to those who have come forward.

In a statement they said: "There is no complacency - the League's own safeguarding team visits each club regularly throughout every season to guide and quality assure their work with children and young people, ensuring their safeguarding provision meets our requirements."

Former Manchester City youth team player Jason Dunford claimed the scandal is bigger than the one involving former broadcaster Jimmy Savile.

Dunford, who said he had been staying at a Butlins holiday camp after winning a football competition when he alleges Bennell attempted to touch him in bed, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I believe there was a conspiracy and paedophile ring.

"I think Savile looks like a choirboy compared to this fella."

What happens next?

Met police
Police will continue investigations (Nick Ansell/PA)

Operation Hydrant, which oversees the investigation of allegations of historical child sex abuse within institutions or by people of public prominence, is trying to pinpoint the scale of the alleged abuse.

It has been in touch with all forces in England and Wales asking them to forward details of the allegations they have received following the recent publicity.