A YOUTH football coach who sexually abused players in 'reward' for winning man of the match has been jailed.

Sydney Hallworth, aged 71, of Ellerthwaite Road, Windermere, Cumbria was sentenced to five-and-a-half-years in prison after being found guilty of five counts of indecent assault at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square.

Hallworth was the coach of a youth football team in the Clayton area of Manchester in the 1980s when he abused players on his team.

Youngsters who had earned the Man of the Match award for the previous week’s game were invited to train with older age groups of the club at a training complex in Blackley.

Typically, Hallworth would collect the boys from their homes in his Austin Princess car before heading to the site, where they’d get one-to-one coaching with him.

But after training, Hallworth would encourage the boys to remove their clothes under the pretext of giving them a sports massage, before sexually abusing them.

Following publicity surrounding the FA enquiry into child abuse in youth football, four separate men reported Hallworth to the police.

After his arrest and during subsequent police interviews, he continually denied the accusations.

Detective constable Joanne Tinsley of GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “Hallworth preyed on these young boys’ aspirations in order to separate them from their peers and sexually abuse them.

“Understandably, they were excited to train with older members of the club and be rewarded for their hard work on the field with one-to-one coaching.

“But the sessions were a cover for Hallworth’s deviancy. He engineered a situation where he could be alone with his victims and subject them to sexual abuse.

“He has refused to admit his guilt throughout the court process, forcing his victims to recount their ordeals.

“Their bravery in coming forward to police means a dangerous and calculating sexual predator is now behind bars.”

Hallworth has been ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and will also be subject to a lifetime sexual harm prevention order.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, you can call GMP on 101, or alternatively people can refer themselves to St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0161 276 6515, whether or not you want make a police report.

The centre, in Manchester, provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in the region who has experienced rape or sexual assault. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and people can access them via GMP, or as a self-referral.

Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential support service run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused. Call the confidential helpline on 0161 273 4500.

Survivors Manchester offers support and counselling for adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, regardless of when the event happened. Contact the group on 0161 236 2182.