A FOOTBALL coach who ‘rewarded’ his young players by sexually abusing them, has been jailed.

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

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

Hallworth was a youth football coach in Manchester in the 1980s when he abused young boys in his care.

He invited favoured players to train with older age groups.

Typically, Hallworth would collect the boys the from their homes in his Austin Princess car before heading to a training complex, where they would 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 inquiry 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."

He said that understandably they were excited to train with older players 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," added DC Tinsley.

"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.”