Shropshire football star Dave Edwards helping to tackle child abuse
Wolves star and former Shrewsbury Town youth footballer Dave Edwards has spoken out about child sexual abuse in football.
Edwards has become the first active footballer to lend his support to a new charity aiming to tackle the issue.
The Welsh international, who lives in Pontsbury, joined ex-footballer Steve Walters, who last year revealed he had been a victim of sexual abuse, on radio station TalkSport to discuss his involvement with charity the Offside Trust.
dwards, who part owns the Little Rascals soft play centre in Shrewsbury, said: "I have a six-year-old boy who is football mad and the thought of him being put in a position like that horrifies me.
"Obviously, when the news broke originally about what had been going on, it was shocking for everyone to hear. It was not until three or four days ago that I looked into and learnt about the Offside Trust. Someone I know messaged me on Twitter and asked me if I had seen it.
"I looked into it, did some research and contacted Steve myself.
"For them to come out like they have it takes so much bravery.
"The trust is really important to help people speak out. I do not think it is something you can suppress. Obviously these guys did it for 25 years but it is not good for anyone. If other people have been abused the opportunity to speak out to other people in the same boat is going to be huge."
Asked about what it was that prompted him to get involved with the charity, Edwards added: "When it first came out it genuinely surprised me.
"I did not think this sort of thing would go on in the football world and there was that reaction for the first week when everyone was talking about it. It died down but there is still an awareness there and there has always been something in the news in the last couple of months which has kept the topic alive in the dressing room.
"For me, personally, and my social group in football, we have young families now."
"I have a six-year-old boy who is football mad and the thought of him being put in a position like Steve (Walters), Andy (Woodward), Chris (Unsworth) were put in, it horrifies me."
Quizzed on why he was the only current player to have come forward and support the trust, Edwards said: "It is such a protected world now. If one wrong thing is said on social media then it can ruin your career.
"Young players especially will have a bubble of people around them who advise them on what to do and what to say so it can be very difficult to get someone's honest opinion.
"From speaking in the changing room at Wolves for instance these lads are willing to hopefully really get behind the trust. I had only heard about it a couple of days earlier and I do think once word does get out and it starts to become shared a bit more on social media I am sure a lot more players will help and help to grow the profile."
- For more information visit theoffsidetrust.com