Europe

British police: 83 potential suspects in soccer abuse probe

From left, former soccer players Mark Williams, Andy Woodward, Steve Walters, Jason Dunford and Matt Monaghan pose for the media at the launch of the Offside Trust at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. In a growing scandal being investigated by 18 police forces across Britain, about 350 people have reported incidents of child sexual abuse at soccer clubs. The Offside Trust has been formed by Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Chris Unsworth as an independent trust to support players and their families who have suffered from abuse. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

From left, former soccer players Mark Williams, Andy Woodward, Steve Walters, Jason Dunford and Matt Monaghan pose for the media at the launch of the Offside Trust at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, England, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. In a growing scandal being investigated by 18 police forces across Britain, about 350 people have reported incidents of child sexual abuse at soccer clubs. The Offside Trust has been formed by Andy Woodward, Steve Walters and Chris Unsworth as an independent trust to support players and their families who have suffered from abuse. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

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 7 to 20 years old.

The NPCC says 98 clubs have been "impacted" but added that this does not equate to them all being "under investigation."

The NPCC says the unidentified clubs are from across all levels of the English game "from premier clubs through to amateur."