The sexual abuse of kids playing soccer in the UK might seem like history given the high profile former players who have come forward, but it’s clearly not only in history. There are still predators in the youth football academies across the UK, don’t forget that.
Operation Hydrant, the specialist police unit investigating the sexual abuse of children in football, has received a number of reports about incidents within the current sport, the Observer can reveal. Of the alleged attacks reported to the police since Andy Woodward’s interview with the Guardian in November began what the Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, has described as the biggest crisis he can remember in the sport, 46 occurred from 2005 to 2016.
The new figures – 187 reported incidents from 1996 onwards and 23 relating to 2011 or later – demonstrate that football’s sexual-abuse scandal is not, as widely presumed, purely a matter relating to another time and raises questions about why the FA’s inquiry has a cut-off point “up until around 2005”.