Police have identified 83 potential suspects in the sex abuse scandal that has rocked English football and believe 98 clubs from all levels have been ‘impacted’, the National Police Chiefs Council revealed on Friday.

The scandal — in which two men have been charged with sex abuse although several of the coaches against whom allegations have been made are out of reach as they are dead — has seen over a third of all British police forces launch investigations.

The NPCC added that 98% of the victims — which is believed for the moment to total 350 — are male with their ages at the time of the alleged abuse ranging from seven to 20.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said the figures reflected the seriousness of the scandal.

“These shocking numbers now identified by police reveal the deeply disturbing extent of abuse that has been going on within football,” said an NSPCC spokesman.

“Our football hotline, launched with the support of the FA, saw a staggering surge in calls in its first week and anyone who wants to contact us can continue to do so in confidence, with the knowledge they will be listened to and supported.”