Sports

Soccer coach at centre of English abuse scandal hospitalized

In this June 23, 1995 photo, former English soccer coach and recruiter Barry Bennell appears in a Duval County courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla. Bennell, who was convicted on three separate occasions for abusing youngsters, was reportedly taken to a hospital on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Bennell was convicted in 1995, 1998 and 2015. But over the last two weeks, there has been a renewed focus on Bennell as former professional players have publicly discussed the abuse they suffered. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times Union via AP)

In this June 23, 1995 photo, former English soccer coach and recruiter Barry Bennell appears in a Duval County courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla. Bennell, who was convicted on three separate occasions for abusing youngsters, was reportedly taken to a hospital on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Bennell was convicted in 1995, 1998 and 2015. But over the last two weeks, there has been a renewed focus on Bennell as former professional players have publicly discussed the abuse they suffered. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times Union via AP)

LONDON — The coach at the centre of English soccer's sex abuse scandal has been hospitalized.

Barry Bennell, a former youth-team coach with professional clubs who was convicted on three separate occasions for abusing youngsters, was involved in an incident on Friday evening

"Police officers attended an address in Knebworth Park, Stevenage ... in connection with a fear for welfare incident," Thames Valley Police said in response to media reports about Bennell.

"A 62-year-old man was located and was taken to hospital in order to receive medical treatment, where he remains."

Bennell was convicted in 1995 in Florida and in English courts in 1998 and 2015. But over the last two weeks, there has been a renewed focus on the cases as former professional players waived their anonymity to publicly discuss the crimes of Bennell and allegations against other coaches.

Greater Manchester Police on Monday became the fifth police force in England to open an investigation into sexual abuse in soccer.

"We are co-ordinating our investigation with forces nationally and with Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordination hub for historic child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence," the Manchester force said.