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Safeguarding children in football

  • 21/03/21
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(A message from the FA)

We know from speaking with many people within leagues and clubs just how challenging this has been and how much effort has been put in by so many people across the game. The impact of Covid-19 has been widespread for us all.

Some players may find they are not as physically fit as they were before lockdown. Others may have struggled mentally and emotionally by being away from the game. Sadly, there will be some who’ve seen family members become unwell, or who have experienced a bereavement, or witnessed or suffered abuse in the home.

With all the above in mind, please ask your league/club officials to report any concerns that may come to light about a child’s welfare, (including 16/17-year-olds in the open-age game) to the County FA, The FA or statutory authorities. A reminder about recognising, responding to and reporting concerns, can be found here.

On a wider level, you may have seen media coverage about the publication of Clive Sheldon QC’s independent review into non-recent child sexual abuse in football. The FA commissioned this review in December 2016, shortly after many former footballers from professional and grassroots football bravely spoke out about the appalling abuse they had suffered as children in football.

We wanted to let you know directly about the Review, which is published here and you can find The FA’s statement about the Review here. I have issued a heartfelt apology to survivors that such appalling abuse took place in football and there is a framework of support in place to assist those survivors who want to access it. Further information can be accessed here.

Please be assured that we remain committed to building on the strong safeguarding foundations we have established across the game over the past two decades. To fulfil this commitment, we need your continued help and support. Together, we must strive to create football environments in which children feel ever safer, more included and most importantly, have fun. This means everyone being vigilant and confident to tackle unacceptable or abusive behaviours.

(All links can be found on the FA website)