Alan Shearer urges football abuse victims to come forward

Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer has urged footballers to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

The former England and Newcastle caption Shearer said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by recent revelations and appealed for victims to contact the NSPCC's football helpline, which has received 860 calls in a week.

Anyone who has suffered abuse in the sport, or is still suffering, should come forward, he said: "I've been shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the abuse that colleagues, and in some cases former team mates, suffered.

"All clubs now have dedicated people tasked with keeping kids safe but there's always more to be done.

"Every club - from the grassroots up - must continue to look at what they're doing to prevent abuse happening to any kids today and in the future."

Current England captain Wayne Rooney has joined with figures, including Wearside-born women's captain Steph Houghton, in a video on "safeguarding" published for the FA and NSPCC.

In the clip, which has been published on the FA official Twitter account, Rooney said: "It's important that everyone knows how to raise any concerns about the child's welfare.

"If you're a young boy or girl and you're upset, hurt or scared with the way someone behaves with you, please let someone you trust know now."

Rooney previously said no-one should 'suffer in silence' and praised Andy Woodward ,who first came forward to say he was abused as a young player.

Meanwhile, Southampton Football Club became the latest team to receive information in relation to historical child abuse.

The club said it would work with Hampshire Police as a major probe into historical child sex abuse in youth football continues up and down the country.

West Midlands Police also said it was "investigating four historical allegations of child sexual abuse in football" and Kent Police said it had received reports of abuse within the county's football community.

Former Chelsea star Alan Hudson, 65, said it was 'common knowledge' that ex-coach Eddie Heath 'was a danger to us youngsters.'

Hudson, a midfielder for the club between 1968 and 1974, spoke out on Facebook after it was claimed Chelsea paid off former striker Gary Johnson who alleged he was abused by Heath.

Johnson, 57, said he was paid £50,000 not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by its former chief scout.

Chelsea said on Tuesday that it had appointed an external law firm to carry out a formal investigation into a former employee, with the club refusing to comment on any of the details.

Mr Heath, who was the club's chief scout from 1968 to 1979, died before the allegations were made.

So far 10 suspects have been identified as the scandal continues to grow, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was investigating reports from 35 people, with its inquiry growing on a 'daily basis.'

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) said it had seen a ten-fold increase in the number of adult survivors of child abuse registering for their support groups - from 10 registrations a week to 100 in the past three weeks.

The National Police Chiefs' Council said around 350 people across the country had reported abuse allegations.

::The NSPCC hotline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.