Alan Shearer said:
"Over the last week I have been shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the abuse that colleagues, and in some cases former team mates, suffered.
"Whilst I am lucky and have no personal experience of the terrible stories that have been described, I know from my work as an NSPCC Ambassador the pain and lasting damage abuse can cause. I have nothing but huge respect and admiration for all the players who are now coming forward, bravely breaking years of silence in a bid to help others. They've carried a terrible burden for too long.
"I'm so glad that the FA have acted swiftly and that NSPCC has set up a hotline, with their support so that players and others in the sport can come forward and get the help they need.
"We can never be complacent but thankfully huge progress has been made in the last ten years when it comes to safeguarding. The NSPCC has worked closely with the FA and other sports, helping them develop the guidance and tools needed to keep children safe, in the hope that kids today and in the future will be able to follow their dreams in safety.
"All clubs now have dedicated people tasked with keeping kids safe but there's always more to be done. Every club – from the grassroots up – must continue to look at what they are doing to prevent abuse happening to any kids today and in the future. We must make sure that all staff and volunteers are aware of the risks and know what to do if they suspect abuse is happening. Parents can help children stay safe by following advice on the NSPCC website.
"As the weeks go on, it seems likely that there will be more people coming forward who suffered abuse within football, and they will need to be given our support so as they can get the help they need and should have had years ago.
"So to anyone who has suffered in the past or is suffering now from abuse in football, please call the NSPCC's new football helpline on 0800 023 2642. It's ok to speak out, there is help available and you don't need to suffer in silence anymore."