LONDON - Ex-Chelsea football star Alan Hudson said it was "common knowledge" that a former scout at the club was a paedophile, media reported Saturday as an abuse scandal engulfing the sport deepens.

His comments come after another former Chelsea player, Gary Johnson, claimed he was paid £50,000 ($63,000) by the Premier League club not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused as a young player by ex-chief scout Eddie Heath.

Around 350 people have told British police they were victims of abuse by football coaches in a mounting scandal that has rocked the sport. "It was common knowledge that Eddie Heath was a nonce," slang for paedophile, Hudson wrote in a post on Facebook, cited by British tabloid newspapers. "I was around and it was common knowledge that Mr Heath was a danger to us youngsters, but luckily for me, he never came near me, almost as if I had a sixth sense."

London club Chelsea said a lawyer was assisting them with their inquiries into Heath's behaviour, adding: "The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation." Heath worked as a youth talent scout for the club in the 1960s and 70s but is now dead. Players from other London clubs he worked for, Leyton Orient and Charlton, have also come forward about his predatory behaviour.

Jimmy Scott, former skipper of Orient where Heath worked during the 1950's and 60's, said he had retorted he would punch him when he was propositioned whilst a former trainee from Charlton, where he worked in the early 1980's, claimed in 'The Times' he had 'touched up' two of his team-mates.

Former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said he didn't believe the Football Association (FA) were in a good position to investigate how their predecessors had dealt with the matter.

Sutcliffe, sports minister in the Labour Government from 2007 and 2010, said there was concern during his tenure about how the FA dealt with governance of the sport and with youth development. The 63-year-old said it would be preferable if an independent body, such as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport looked at the issue rather than the FA investigating itself.

"What I've seen in football over the years is that they're very narrow, very insular, and may not do a proper job even though with the right intentions," he said.

However a former employee of Southampton Football Club accused of abusing young players in the 1980s is still working in the sport, according to reports. BBC's Radio 4 said it understood the employee, who faced allegations from four former players, left Southampton after concerns were raised about his conduct with youth team members, but went on to work for other clubs.

The club said Friday that it had been contacted by police "following information supplied to us in relation to historical child abuse within football". As the scandal widened, captains of three England football teams, including Wayne Rooney, appeared in a short film about safeguarding children in the sport, assuring parents that child protection measures are in place.

The video, made for the NSPCC children's charity and the Football Association (FA) and posted online, advises parents and children to raise any concerns they have about possible abuse. Former England captain Alan Shearer also urged footballers to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse, saying he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the recent revelations.