POLICE SCOTLAND have launched a probe into an alleged ‘football paedo ring’.
The investigation comes after claims that notorious predators worked together in an abuse network to prey on young footballers.
Earlier this week the Independent Review into Sexual Abuse within Scottish Football confirmed new “substantive’ evidence of an organised cross-border abuse network.
The Times published allegations that former Manchester City scout Barry Bennell and ex-Celtic kitman and boy’s club coach Jim McCafferty were part of the ring.
One abuse victim, Malcolm Rodger claims he was abused separately by McCafferty and Bennell after being introduced to them by his former coach at Uphall Saints Bill Kelly.
Bennell, 66, was sentenced to a 31-year prison stay for 50 charges of child sex abuse, while McCafferty, 74, was jailed for molesting child footballers for over 24 years.
Kelly, 84, admitted abusing 12 boys in a 22-year spell but only spent a year behind bars when he was sentenced in 1987.
Police Scotland have now confirmed investigations are ongoing but at an ‘early stage’.
Detective chief inspector Laura Carnochan, head of the force’s national child abuse investigation unit, said: “We would like to assure anyone who has been a victim of child abuse, or knows of someone who has been a victim, that if they wish to report we will listen and we will investigate, and will take prompt action to ensure that no one else is at risk of harm.”
Mr Rodger, 49, from Glasgow says he suffered two years of abuse in the 1980s while playing in Scotland, England and Spain.
The decorated serviceman, who served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and during the first Gulf War claims Kelly and McCafferty abused him together on numerous occasions, and Kelly introduced him to Bennell on a trip to Blackpool.
Speaking to The Times, Mr Rodger said: “Kelly told me he was lead scout for Crewe and his name was Barry Bennell.
“He said that if I showed my ‘appreciation’ then he could open doors and get me noticed.
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“Kelly introduced me to Bennell for a second time and basically stood and watched guard as he abused me.”
Martin Henry, chairman of the independent review, confirmed his inquiry had heard claims which suggest notorious abusers in Scotland and England were working together.
He said: “These have been passed to the English FA inquiry and they’ve also been reported to the police.”
Kelly, a former secretary of the West Lothian Association of Youth Football Clubs, denies any connection with Bennell or McCafferty.
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