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Football is the most popular sport in the UK and the recent revelations of historic child sex abuse has rocked the nation and its beloved national sport.

Not long ago the problem of child sex abuse in football was a hidden issue but former professional footballer, Andy Woodward changed all that with the revelation that he had been abused by Andy Woodward speaks out on child abusea youth coach in the 1980s.

Since his courageous revelation, around 350 other players have also come forward to detail abuse at the hands of 83 former coaches and officials linked to around 100 football clubs including Premier League Clubs such as Southampton and Chelsea.

According to reports in British media, more than 20 separate British forces are investigating the claims of abuse that have emerged following Andy Woodward’s interview last month.

He explained:

“The night before, I didn’t get one hour of sleep,” Woodward told 7.30.

“I nearly stopped it going through.”

Source: 1. below.

As he battled with anxiety, Woodward contacted his old managers, Stan Ternent and Neil Warnock, he went on to state:

“They were so supportive. Neil said, ‘Go on and do it, you need to do this, it’s the right thing to do’. It was the final push I needed,”

Source: 1. below.

After the article was published, others came forward to detail their abuse at the hands of coaches including ex international players, Paul Stewart and David White.

The abused players have since formed a support group to help each other deal with their issues, it’s called Offside Trust.

The players never spoke out about the abuse at the time because they feared their hopes of being professional footballers would be dashed.

They have been suffering in silence ever since.

One player still has a photo of his abuser handing him an award at a football presentation in the early 1980s which he says makes him angry everytime he looks at it.

He explains:

“People in this photograph could have been the people who had the suspicions about his activity. They are applauding me, but they don’t see fit to come forward to say anything to protect me,”

Source: 1. below.

Good policy is key when it comes to protecting children and surprisingly the UK still doesn’t have the policies we have here in Australia which protect children – the mandatory reporting of child sexual assault.

There have been people campaigning for the laws for over a decade, with research from Australia showing that it does work.

Here is Australia we often rely on Australian Police Checks to ensure the people coaching our children aren’t registered sex offenders. Whether they’re volunteering or paid employees, coaches and teachers etc. should be subject to a criminal background check before being given access to our children.

Quotes Source:  1.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-21/more-than-300-footballers-allege-child-abuse-in-british-scandal/8122926