Chelsea have confirmed that they will undertake an investigation concerning an individual employed by the club in the 1970s, who is now dead.

The club have hired a law firm to investigate allegations of historical sexual abuse amid claims that the club made a secret payment to a former youth team footballer who accused the club’s ex-chief scout Eddie Heath of sexual abuse.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “The club has also contacted the FA to ensure that all possible assistance is provided as part of their wider investigation.

“This will include providing the FA with any relevant information arising out of the club’s investigation.

“The FA has commissioned a dedicated NSPCC helpline for adults who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood within the football industry. The helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.

“While the club’s investigation is ongoing, we will make no further comment on this matter.”

A report in the Telegraph claimed Chelsea paid off an alleged victim who had threatened to go public with allegations he was sexually assaulted.

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke, who spoke earlier this week of the scandal being the biggest ever faced by the FA, has said there will be no cover up if clubs are implicated in cases of abuse.

“I find it morally repugnant that people would suppress reporting of crimes against children to protect their reputation,” Clarke said.

“If anyone has behaved improperly, they will be held to account and that information will be released. The FA will not be part of any cover-up. If a club has behaved badly, they will be held to account.”