Chelsea's former youth-team coach Graham Rix has denied allegations of racism following a damning media report.
Rix and Chelsea's ex-chief scout Gwyn Williams "deny all and any allegations of racial or other abuse", their lawyers have said in a statement, following an article in The Guardian newspaper.
The article claimed that three former Chelsea youth-team players have taken legal action against the club due to the alleged abuse they received. It adds that Rix and Williams are specifically named.
The abuse allegedly includes physical attacks, and in one instance Rix - who played for Arsenal during a distinguished playing career - even allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee in the face of a youth-team player.
The claims were the subject of a seven-month police investigation, which concluded without any action being taken. However Chelsea have now launched their own inquiry, and two of the players have been interviewed by the FA. At least one of the players has been offered counselling.
In a statement, Chelsea said: "We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously... we are absolutely determined to do the right thing, to fully support those affected, assist the authorities and support their investigations."
Rix joined Chelsea as a youth team in 1993 and rose to become assistant manager under Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli, eventually leaving the club following the latter's sacking in 2000. In 1999 he was jailed for 12 months for for having sex with a 15-year-old girl, but served only half that sentence.
Williams spent over 20 years at Chelsea and also rose to become assistant manager, before leaving the club in 2006.