Andy Woodward's revelations have triggered a Football Association review

More than 20 former footballers have now come forward to claim that they were sexually abused while on the youth teams of seven clubs.

The allegations come as the sport’s governing body, the Football Association (FA), has announced it is launching a review into the historic allegations in a bid to find out what football clubs knew at the time the alleged abuse was going on.

Since the ex Crewe footballer Andy Woodward bravely waived his right to anonymity to tell of abuse he suffered at the hands of coach Barry Bennell, who has already served three jail terms for paedophilia, other footballers have felt able to come forward. The number of abuse allegations has now been growing day by day.

The FA has brought on board Kate Gallefent QC to conduct its own review which is to look into what information the FA and the clubs were aware of, whether action was taken, and how to prevent similar abuse in the future. Following the initial review, the FA says it may launch a future, fuller inquiry.

FA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: “From that time, of those who became apprentices and senior players, over 20 players have come forward.”

He said that clubs names in connection with abuse allegations were Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke, Blackpool, Newcastle and Leeds. Although he said he believed there were now six or seven clubs involved.

Mr Taylor said that he did not expect the allegations and incidents were confined only to the North West and North East, but that it was likely to be a countrywide issue in the same way sexual abuse allegations have tainted other professions, including the church.

Both Crewe and Manchester City have also revealed they have started their own investigations. A number of different police forces across the country have confirmed they are investigating allegations which have been made to them.