According to the Guardian newspaper, allegations against a senior coach have been made by at least three female former athletes; these include child grooming and sexual assault believed to have taken place between 2006 and 2010.

According to the paper, one athlete told investigators that the coach groomed her when she was under the age of 16 and that he later took advantage of his position of power.

After a separate allegation was made to British Canoeing, that the coach had asked an athlete to perform a sexual act on him, the coach was suspended from his role in December.

These allegations are believed to have prompted several women to come forward with new allegations ofnon-recent child grooming and a police investigation was launched. So far no charges have been brought.

In July last year the Government launched a consultation on possible mandatory reporting, which considered whether people who work with children in sports clubs and other organisations should be placed under a legal duty to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to the proper authorities.

Alison Millar the head of the Abuse claims team at Leigh Day said: "Many people are shocked when they find out that sports clubs in the UK are under no legal duty to report concerns of sexual abuse to the police.

Ms Millar has also urged the Government to examine the legal loophole which enables sports coaches, in a position of significant power, from avoiding prosecution if they have sex with 16 or 17-year-olds.

If a teacher, care worker or other professional in the public sector has sexual contact with a 16 or 17-year-old, that teenager would be protected by the law. However, that same law does not apply to sports coaches.

Ms Millar said: “The legal loophole regarding 16 and 17-year-olds must be closed; sports coaches often hold great power over children in their charge, perhaps even more so than a teacher.”