A member of Sunderland’s academy staff has been arrested on allegations he met a player under the age of 16 after sexual grooming.
Peter Howey, a physio working with youngsters at the League One club, was taken into custody following a complaint from a player in the system.
It was reported that the 60-year-old was taken in by Northumbria Police when the club contacted them to report their suspicions.
Sunderland made contact with the authorities when the schoolboy, who is under the age of 16, came forward to the club to make a complaint.
Howey is understood to have been arrested on suspicion of meeting the boy, and has since been released under investigation.
Sunderland have since suspended their member of staff as they help the police.
A club spokesman said: “We were made aware of allegations pertaining to a member of staff.
“We reported the matter to Northumbria Police immediately and the individual was suspended.”
A Northumbria Police statement said: “Police have arrested a 60-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a male under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.
“He has been released under investigation.”
Howey is formerly an assistant head teacher at Hetton School, a secondary school in the city.
He retired in 2013 but continued to work part-time as a physio at the Sunderland FC academy – having previously coached a football team for 23 years.