LONDON: Allegations of historical sex abuse have been made involving all five London clubs in the Premier League, the capital city’s Metropolitan Police Service announced on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The five clubs swept up in the scandal that has rocked English football since former Crewe Alexandra youth player Andy Woodward went public in November last year are Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Some of the claims go as far back as the 1960s.
The Met’s figures mean the number of Premier League clubs who have been connected with the investigation has risen by one from last month when the global English figure given out by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) said there were four.
In all the Met said the allegations involved 77 London-based clubs — three in the second tier Championship and three in League One and League Two — and have received 255 allegations of sex abuse.
“On 8 December 2016, the Metropolitan Police Service confirmed it had launched an investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual abuse at football clubs in London,” read their statement.
“As of Monday, 30 January, the investigative team, with officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, have received 255 separate allegations.
“The allegations are connected with individuals at 77 named clubs or teams.
“The breakdown for those clubs is: Five in the Premiership; Three against Championship clubs; Three against clubs in Leagues One and Two; and there have also been 66 other named clubs which would include non-league or non-professional or amateur teams.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet of the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said that each and every one of the allegations will be looked into but the Met would not be supplying a running commentary on the investigations or how many allegations have been made against a particular club.
“The Met take all allegations seriously, and specialist officers will work through the information passed to them,” he said.
Overall the number of football clubs who have been brought up in the enquiry stood at 248 according to the figures released by the NPCC earlier this month.
The NPCC were at pains to point out that does not mean they are under investigation but have been ‘referenced when information is submitted’.
The number of alleged victims stands at 526 with the youngest aged four and 97 percent of them are male — there are 184 potential suspects who have been identified.
Not all the alleged victims or perpetrators come from football with 10 other sports implicated including rugby, gymnastics, the martial arts and athletics.
The scandal blew up last November when Woodward went public over the abuse he had suffered at the hands of a convicted child molester at Crewe Alexandra.
Other ex-professional players have since gone public with several coming from Chelsea — in an era well before present owner Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the club — claiming to have been abused by scout Eddie Heath in the 1970s.
Heath, who had similar allegations levelled at him from former youth players at another London club Charlton Athletic where he went after he was sacked by Chelsea in 1979 although not for sexual impropriety, cannot defend himself as he died in 1983 aged 54.
Chelsea have launched an internal investigation over the slew of allegations of historic abuse made by former players.