Sue Ravenlaw, The FA’s head of equality and safeguarding, said:-
“Reading Andy Woodward’s story in The Guardian was heartbreaking and we applaud his immense courage in coming forward to speak about the horrific abuse he suffered.
“Barry Bennell remains permanently suspended from football, in line with our procedures.
“The FA takes all matters of safeguarding and child protection seriously and we encourage anyone who may have experienced or is experiencing abuse in football, to contact the NSPCC’s confidential 24 hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Child Line for children and young people 0800 1111.
“We’ve worked with the NSPCC for 16 years and we know how important it is for victims of abuse to be guided to where they can receive independent, confidential support from trained professionals.
“Important information on how to report any concerns about a child’s welfare in football can be found here.
“Reports can be made via designated safeguarding officers, direct to the professional who work at The FA or via statutory agencies and the NSPCC.
“In conjunction with the Premier League, English Football League and County FAs, we’ve been working to build fun and safe environments for children and young people to participate in. The FA and the football bodies do not tolerate any form of bullying and or abuse in football.
“Criminal record checks are required for those in regulated activity with children, in line with legislation and FA Regulations. More than 35,000 people go through The FA’s safeguarding children awareness workshop, or tailored training every season and we require every club or league with affiliated teams who are U18, to have a named, trained designated safeguarding officer, who has been criminal record checked.”
Referring a concern can be done via your club, league or County FA – all will have a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO), trained by The FA. Alternatively, you can email them directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.