Chelsea launch investigation into former club employee

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Chelsea have announced that they have opened an investigation relating to the conduct of a former employee at Stamford Bridge.

The London club have asked for assistance from the Football Association with regards to the matter, which they suggest relates to the wider investigation into child abuse in the sport in Britain.

Although they did not specify the nature of their investigation, Chelsea have said that the individual at the heart of the process - who is now deceased - worked at the club some 40 years ago.

"Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased," they said in a statement.

"The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing The FA with any relevant information arising out of the club's investigation.

"The FA has commissioned a dedicated NSPCC helpline for adults who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood within the football industry. The helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.

"While the club's investigation is ongoing, we will make no further comment on this matter."

The news is the latest development in a scandal described by FA chairman Greg Clarke as one of the biggest in the organisation's history.

More than 20 ex-footballers made allegations of child abuse, prompting the FA to launch a review of the cases with the assistance of a legal aid.

It has also commissioned a dedicated helpline, run by children's charity the NSPCC, in order to make it easier for any further victims to come forward.

Former youth coach Barry Bennell, a convicted paedophile who has been accused of a string of alleged abuse offences by former players including Andy Woodward and Steve Walters, was charged by prosecutors on Tuesday with eight offences of sexual assault against a boy under the age of 14.

Eight police forces - Cheshire, Hampshire, Northumbria, the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, Cambridgeshire and Police Scotland - are investigating allegations of abuse, which have come to light as a result of testimony from a number of former players across the country.