LONDON (AP) — Police overseeing the sex abuse scandal in British soccer say 83 potential suspects have been identified and linked to 98 clubs.
Officers across the country are sifting through 639 referrals received by both police and a helpline established last month when former players started going public to say they were abused by coaches while in youth teams.
The National Police Chiefs' Council said in a statement on Friday that the age range of potential victims was seven to 20 years old.
Although 98 clubs have been "impacted," the NPCC said this does not equate to them all being "under investigation." The unidentified clubs are from across all levels of the English game "from premier clubs through to amateur," the NPCC said.
Meanwhile, the head of the Premier League has written to the parents of players in top-flight academies to reassure them that their children are being protected.
"As the parent of a young person registered at a Premier League club academy I am sure you, like us, are very concerned by the allegations of historical sexual abuse at professional football clubs," Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore wrote. "The victims and survivors have been extremely brave to come forward, and have our sympathy and support.
"Given the volume of media coverage these disturbing stories understandably continue to generate, it is important that you, as parents of Premier League club academy players, are made aware of the current standards and provisions in place to keep your children safe."