NCS | Football abuse hotline receives 'staggering surge' in calls

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A dedicated football sex abuse hotline has received 860 calls in its first week, the NSPCC says. Chief executive Peter Wanless said there had been a "staggering surge" in the number of people getting in touch.

The NSPCC said that from between 23 and 29 November its hotline received 860 calls, and within the first three days of it launching, the organisation made more than 60 referrals to a range of agencies across the UK. That was more than three times as many referrals as in the first three days of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the charity added.

Mr Wanless said it demonstrated the "worrying extent of abuse that had been going on within the sport". "The number of high-profile footballers bravely speaking out about their ordeal has rightly caught the attention of the entire country," he added

A total of 15 police forces are now investigating allegations of historical child sex abuse in football. The inquiries come after several former players made allegations of abuse against football coaches.

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport's chief executive, spoke to the BBC about how other sports must react to the allegations affecting football - and what repercussions they could face if they fail to take claims seriously enough. "We would certainly want the sport to evidence the action it's taking to deal with the issue, and if we were concerned in any way, if there was inaction, then we would consider our funding relationship with the sport," she said.

UK Sport allocates money from the government and National Lottery to grassroots initiatives, clubs, charities, local authorities and national governing bodies.

The Football Association has announced an internal review and a number of football clubs are conducting their own inquiries.

It was revealed on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme that the FA scrapped a flagship project in 2003 meant to ensure children were being protected from sexual abuse.

A number of forces including the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Police had previously announced they were investigating historical allegations.

The FA is supporting a hotline set up by the NSPCC. It is available 24 hours a day on 0800 0232642

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