New claims as more come forward

Barry Bennell case'Industrial scale child molester may have abused more than 100 young footballers

New claims as more come forward

According to the most recent figures issued by a specialist police unit investigating non-recent child sexual abuse in British soccer, 294 alleged suspects have been identified and the number of victims stands at 839, ranging from age 4 to 20.

"I knew he was prolific, I knew he was on an industrial scale, I didn't know so many people would have the courage to come forward", Woodward said outside Liverpool Crown Court in northwest England. During his time working with Manchester City's feeder teams, Bennell abused children on the Maine Road pitch.

One victim, who he had admitted abusing in 1998, said he knew of four men who had been coached by Bennell, including former Wales manager Gary Speed, who had gone on to take their own lives.

"No one can remove their suffering or that of others who suffered sexual abuse as children as a result of their involvement with football".

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"All victims", City said in a statement, "were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they endured". "You will be listened to, your concerns will be taken seriously and we will do all we can do to provide you with the specialist support you will need".

The 64-year-old, who was associated with clubs including Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City, will be sentenced on Monday. The second identified individual - John Broome - is deceased and is not believed to be linked to Bennell.

In a statement published on the club's website, City confirmed that investigations into the allegations against Broome will continue and revealed that other reports of "historic anomalous behaviours" will also be examined.

Pep Guardiola has urged football to learn lessons from the Barry Bennell affair after the former youth coach was convicted of multiple sex assaults on boys.

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In a press conference at City's academy training ground on Friday afternoon, the coach said he felt personally affected by the revelations because "I am a father and it could have happened to my son or my daughter". It's only now, after an bad lot of soul-searching, that I feel strong enough to do it.

He said he had pressure from chief scout Mr Barnes, as well as the club scouts and directors, but refused to work with Bennell. It was easier that way because, if I said what really happened, that would mean explaining I used to be at Crewe Alexandra.

It is understood that City have spoken to more than 100 people as part of its review which has so far cost £1 million.

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