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83 suspects in soccer sex abuse

There are now 83 potential suspects and 98 teams involved in the inquiry into historic child sexual abuse in English football, the National Police Chiefs’ Council revealed.

The investigation involves all levels of football, from top-level clubs to amateur teams.

Police forces across the UK continue to receive calls from victims and people offering information. In total, 639 referrals have been received from both the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) helpline and police forces.

Of the victims identified so far, 98% are male and their ages range from seven to 20.

“Allegations received by police forces across the country are being swiftly acted upon,” said Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC’s lead for Child Protection.

The investigation began when former professional footballer Andy Woodward became the first to publicly tell his story in November.

Fellow lower-league player Steve Walters and ex-England internationals Paul Stewart and David White also came forward soon after, before a hotline was set up for people who were sexually abused while playing football in Britain.