Chelsea sanctioned a secret payment to a former youth team footballer who accused the club’s ex-chief scout of child sexual abuse, according to a report in <b>The Telegraph.</b>

The alleged victim was paid off by the club after he threatened to go public with claims that he was sexually assaulted in the 1970s by Eddie Heath, Chelsea’s influential chief scout for more than a decade.

The payment, made in the past three years, was agreed on condition that the victim, his family and lawyers were banned from talking about the alleged abuse.

After being approached by <i>The Telegraph,</i> which first disclosed that a payment had been made by a Premier League side, Chelsea issued a statement on Tuesday night confirming it had “retained” an outside law firm to carry out a full investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased.

In an official statement published on Chelsea’s website on Tuesday night, the club said: “Chelsea Football Club has retained an external law firm to carry out an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now deceased. The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation. This will include providing the FA with any relevant information arising out of the club’s investigation.

“While the club’s investigation is ongoing, we will make no further comment on this matter.”

It is understood the Chelsea football club initially rebuffed the claim, but decided to make a payment when the victim threatened to make the allegations public.