- Match Centre
This is one of the most important areas in sport - children must feel safe when taking part
One of the most important aspects of grassroots football is safeguarding, particularly ensuring that all children and youth people under the age of 18 years can be involved and feel safe.
Let's make football safe, not sorry! Most children and young people have a fantastic experience through football, but sadly, some don't.
This might be down to over-competitive parents and coaches shouting and constantly criticising them from the sidelines, the kind of behaviour that the Respect programme is designed to address, or it might be due to some other kind of abusive behaviour towards them.
Safeguarding Children is everyone's responsibility and having welfare officers in all clubs and leagues with youth teams is crucial to The FA's simple three part approach to safeguarding. This includes:
Getting the right people involved by seeking references and CRC (Criminal Records Checks).
Create a safe environment, using code of conducts, education and following best practice.
Promoting clear systems to deal with any concerns.
Remember: It is NOT our responsibility to decide if abuse has taken place BUT if we have concerns it IS our responsibility to act and report those concerns.
Initial action: if something happens at a match that you consider to be a welfare issue, the first person to contact is your Club Welfare Officer who will review and advise on the best course of action.
If the matter can be resolved between the clubs, the CWO contacted should liaise with the CWO of the other club involved to discuss and try to come to a resolution.
If the two CWOs cannot resolve the issue or the incident is considered serious, then the League Welfare Officer (LWO) should be contacted and given the relevant details. After review, the LWO will try to mediate and advice will be given on the next steps.
In very serious cases, the LWO should be informed, but the matter may have to go to the appropriate County FA(s), the FA, or perhaps other agencies as appropriate depending on the incident.
At all times, information should be kept confidential and communicated only to those people that need to know or be involved.
Important: if you are a witness to or a subject of discriminatory abuse, the FA has now revised its information and reporting procedure and you can report such incidents via their new website at www.TheFA.com/tellus
What is a DBS?
DBS is a Disclosure and Barring Service Check, formerly known as CRB or CRC, to ensure that an individual is safe to work with children.
How do I do a DBS?
If you are a coach, please speak to your Club Welfare Officer (CWO) who will take you through the process. If you are a referee or other volunteer not associated with a club, please contact your County FA for assistance.
Who needs to have a DBS?
Anyone who is regularly working or volunteering directly with children and young people in football needs to have an enhanced DBS. Regular is defined as once a month or more, more than twice in 30 days or overnight. Activities include: teaching, training, instructing, supervising, giving advice or guidance, treating or caring for children or driving for the club.
Remember, a DBS is required for each role that an individual has working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults. This means even if an individual has completed a DBS through work or another sport, an additional check is required for football. However, if you have a DBS as a coach, this will also cover you for other volunteer roles in football, e.g. referee.
How do I check if someone has a DBS or not?
Club Welfare Officers can now use the Safeguarding Report on Whole Game System to check and manage the DBS and Safeguarding Children Workshop status of volunteers of their club.
0808 800 5000 alternatively you can text 88858
The NSPCC Helpline is a free, 24-hour service which provides advice to anyone worried about a child.
Childline is a free, private and confidential service where you can be you.
CEOP The Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency (CEOP) works with child protection partners across the UK and overseas to identify the main threats to children and coordinates activity against these threats to bring offenders to account.