More than 20 people have come forward to say they were sexually abused by a former Watford FC physiotherapist – with one claiming the club were told about the abuse.

Phil Edwards was a key member of the backroom staff at Watford FC in the 1990s before he left in 1998. He died aged 60 in July last year, a month after he was arrested on suspicion of abusing a teenager.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has received 16 complaints about Mr Edwards, many involving footballers from Watford’s junior system. But it is feared the number of alleged victims could be a lot higher.

One of them, a player who came through Watford’s academy structure, told sports website The Athletic he would be “very surprised if it didn’t reach the 50 mark or more”.

Speaking anonymously, he described Mr Edwards as a “predator” and a “paedophile” who would “take boys into rooms on their own and tell them to strip off until they were naked”.

The former player also claimed the club were aware of Mr Edwards’ alleged abuse, but it was “brushed under the carpet”, the sports website reports.

The Athletic adds a file has been put together by the football club for Clive Sheldon, the lawyer undertaking the Football Association’s (FA) independent inquiry into football’s sexual abuse scandal. Watford FC has launched its own investigation.

Watford Observer:

The alleged incident Mr Edwards was arrested for happened at Watford Leisure Centre Woodside

The incident Mr Edwards was arrested for last summer is alleged to have happened at Watford Leisure Centre Woodside, a place where he worked for around 20 years.

He was released on bail but a fortnight later was found dead at his home in Wilstone, near Tring. A post-mortem revealed Mr Edwards died from heart disease.

In a statement released at the time of the physio's death, Watford FC said: “We understand there will be levels of concern at the accusations of historic abuse during a period in the 1990s and the club is determined to discover the veracity of these allegations and how they may have impacted on those who came in contact with Mr Edwards via Watford FC.

“We would ask that anybody with concerns contacts the club on 01923 496374 or via

“All communication will be dealt with in the strictest confidence by our safeguarding team and evidence gathered before determining the next course of action.”