Greater Manchester Police launch investigation into youth football sex abuse claims as scandal spreads

GMP said it had received a 'number of calls'' from people reporting historic abuse from when they played as children

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The Independent Football

Greater Manchester Police has launched an investigation into historical sex abuse in youth football.

The force said it had received a "number of calls'' from people reporting historic abuse from when they played as children. 

GMP join Hampshire, Northumbria, Metropolitan and Chesire police in investigating historical child sex abuse in football.

GMP's Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Ford released a statement that read: "Following recent media coverage, Greater Manchester Police has received a number of calls from people reporting historic sexual abuse while they were in the youth football system.

"We have now launced an investigation and our specially trained officers are supporting those who have come forward so far.

"We are co-ordinating our investigation with forces nationally and with Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordination hub for historic child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence."

The Football Association has opened its own investigation into historical sexual abuse in the sport. The governing body said it was working closely with police, adding it "must ensure we do not do anything to interfere with or jeopardise the criminal process".

The FA has instructed independent leading counsel Kate Gallafent QC, an expert in child protection, to assist with its review.

But the FA has come under fire for its handling of the matter. Damian Collins MP, chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has accused the FA of being slow in responding to the growing scandal.

As many as seven professional clubs are now embroiled in the scandal, with more than 20 former players alleging they were victims, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, has said.