Chelsea have appointed a law firm to investigate an “individual employed by the club in the 1970s” who is alleged to have abused a former youth team footballer.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the youngster claims he was sexually assaulted by Eddie Heath, the London club’s chief scout from 1968 to 1979.
The newspaper reported that a payment was made in the past three years to the victim by Chelsea, with the club refusing to comment on any of the details. Heath died before the allegation was made.
No one was available for comment at Chelsea but the club released the following statement on their website: “Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased.
“The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing the FA with any relevant information arising out of the club’s investigation.
“The FA has commissioned a dedicated NSPCC helpline for adults who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood within the football industry. The helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
“While the club’s investigation is ongoing, we will make no further comment on this matter.”
Eight police forces – Police Scotland, the Metropolitan, Cambridgeshire, Staffordshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Cheshire and Northumbria – are now looking into allegations of historical child sex abuse in football.
There have been 250 reports made to police and more than 50 calls were made to an NSPCC hotline set up for sexual abuse victims in football in the initial hours of opening.
More than 20 former players have now spoken out about alleged abuse. The reports started after former player Andy Woodward told the Guardian earlier this month that he was abused as a youth.