Safeguarding Children Policy

  1. Safeguarding Policy Statement

Football Force Academy (“the Club”) recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people (defined as any person under the age of 18) involved in football which it organises or which it supervises and is committed to working to provide them with a safe environment. The Club subscribes to The Football Association’s Child Protection Best Practice Policy and Procedures, Safeguarding Children and Young People in Football and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document namely:-

“Every child or young person, defined as any person under the age of 18, who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and should be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football. The FA recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. The FA is, therefore, committed to working to provide a safe environment for all children and young people to participate in the sport to the best of their abilities so long as they choose to do so”.

2. Key Principles

The key principles of this Safeguarding Children Policy and that of the FA are that:-

  • The      child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration

  • All      children and young people have the right to be protected from abuse      regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial      origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation

  • All      suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded      to swiftly and appropriately

  • Working      in partnership with other organisations, children and young people and      their parents/carers is essential

3. Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that every child or young person who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable safe environment and be protected from poor practice and abuse. The Club recognises that this is the responsibility of every adult involved in football organised or supervised by the Club.

4. Role

The Club has a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is noted and accepted that the Football Association regulations (set out in Appendix 2A hereto) apply to all persons involved in football whether in a paid or voluntary capacity. This means whether you are a volunteer, match official, helper on club tours, coach, club official or medical staff.

The Club endorses and will apply the Football Association regulations and will treat any infraction of those regulations as misconduct which will be the subject of the disciplinary procedures set out in the League Rules in addition to any other procedures which may be undertaken by any other body or authority.

The Club also endorses and adopts the FA’s Safeguarding Children and Best Practice Guidelines for recruiting volunteers and will:-

  • Develop      a role profile

  • Request      identification documents

  • As a      minimum, meet and discuss with the applicants and where possible will      conduct interviews before appointing

  • Request      and follow up with 2 references before appointing

  • Require      an FA CRB Unit Enhanced Disclosure where appropriate in line with FA      Guidelines

  • All      current Club officials with direct access to children and young people      will be required to complete a CRB Enhanced Disclosure via the FA CRB      Unit.

If there are concerns regarding the appropriateness of an individual who is already involved or who has approached the Club to become one of its officials, guidance will be sought from the Football Association. It is noted and accepted that the FA will consider the relevance and significance of the information obtained via the FA CRB Unit and that all decisions will be made in the best interests of children and young people.

It is accepted that the FA aims to prevent people with a history of relevant and significant offending from having contact with children or young people and the opportunity to influence policies or practice with children or young people. This is to prevent direct sexual or physical harm to children and young people and to minimise the risk of “grooming” within football.

5. Whistle Blowing

The Club supports the FA’s whistle blowing policy. Any adult or young person with concerns about a adult in a position of trust with football can ‘whistle blow’ by contacting The FA Safeguarding Team on 0800 169 1863, by writing to The FA Case Manager at The Football Association, Wembley Stadium, PO Box 1966, London SW1P 9EQ, by emailing or alternatively by going direct to the Police, Children’s Social Care or the NSPCC.

The Club Club encourages everyone to know about The FA’s Whistle Blowing Policy and to utilise it if necessary.

6. Club Welfare Officer

The Club has appointed a Club Welfare Officer in line with The FA’s role profile and required completion of the Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officers Workshop. The post holder will be involved with Welfare Officer training provided by The FA and/or County FA. The Club Welfare Officer is the first point of contact for all club members regarding concerns about the welfare of any child or young person. The Club Welfare Officer will liaise directly with the County FA (CFA) Welfare Officer and will be familiar with the procedures for referring any concerns. They will also play a proactive role in increasing awareness of Respect, poor practice and abuse amongst club members.

7. Bullying

We acknowledge and endorse The FA’s identification of bullying as a category of abuse. Bullying of any kind is not acceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, all players or parents/carers should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly. Incidents need to be reported to the Club Welfare Officer in cases of serious bullying the CFA Welfare Officer may be contacted.

8. Codes of Conduct

Codes of Conduct for coaches, players, officials and parents/carers have been implemented by the Club and are contained in Appendix 2B. Failure to comply with the Code of Conduct constitutes misconduct which may the subject of disciplinary sanction in accordance with the FA/league rules.

9. Reporting Concerns

Reporting your concerns about the welfare of a child or young person. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility if you are worried about a child it is important that you report your concerns – no action is not an option.

i. If you are worried about a child then you need to report your concerns to the Club Welfare Officer.

ii. If the issue is one of poor practice the Club Welfare Officer will either:
•deal with the matter themselves or
•seek advice from the CFA Welfare Officer

iii. If the concern is more serious – possible child abuse, where possible, contact the CFA Welfare Officer first, then immediately contact the Police or Children’s Social Care.

iv. If the child needs immediate medical treatment take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them this is a child protection concern. Let your Club Welfare Officer know what action you have taken, they in turn will inform the CFA Welfare Officer.

v. If at any time you are not able to contact your Club Welfare Officer or the matter is clearly serious then you can either:
•contact your CFA Welfare Officer directly
•contact The FA Safeguarding Team on 0800 169 1863 or
•contact the Police or Children’s Social Care
•call the NSPCC 24 hour Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000 or text 88858 or email

10. Further Advice

Further advice on Safeguarding Children matters can be obtained from:-




Football Force Academy is committed to creating and preserving the safest possible environment for children to play football.

It is the duty of all Club Members, Referees, Club Officials, Team Managers, Coaches, Parent Helpers and any other individuals directly or indirectly involved with the club to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual, or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying.

Football Force Academy accepts children’s welfare is paramount and all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender or religious belief, have the right to protection from abuse. All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.


The term child abuse is used to describe ways in which children or young people are harmed, usually by adults and often by those they know and trust. There are five main types of child abuse, though a child may experience more than one kind at any one time in his / her life.

  1. Physical Abuse – Occasions when      parents, adults or other children or young people deliberately inflict      injuries on a child or knowingly do not prevent such injuries. It includes      injury caused by hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning, biting or using excessive      force, and giving children or young people alcohol, inappropriate drugs or      poison, and attempts to suffocate or drown them. Physical abuse may also      be deemed to occur if the nature and intensity of training disregards the      capacity of the child’s immature and growing body, or predisposes the      child to injury resulting from fatigue or overuse. (e.g. over training and      also when coaches encourage children or young people to take performance      enhancing drugs or alcohol).

  2. Emotional      Abuse – Occasions      when adults fail to show children or young people due care and attention      or threaten use sarcasm taunt or shout at a child causing him / her to      lose self-confidence or self esteem and become nervous or withdrawn. It      includes situations where children or young people are overprotected      preventing them from socialising. It may also occur when an adult      repeatedly ignores or fails to respond to a child’s efforts or progress,      or places the child under unrealistic pressure to perform to high      expectations constantly.

  3. Neglect – Occasions where      adults fail to meet a child’s essential needs, such as adequate clothing,      food, warmth and medical care. It also includes occasions where an adult      leaves a child alone without proper supervision, or does not ensure that      the child is safe, or exposes them to undue extremes of temperature or      risk of injury. (e.g. through unsafe equipment).

  4. Sexual      Abuse – Occurs      when males and females use children or young people to meet their own      sexual needs. Examples include forcing a child to take part in sexual      activity such as sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, anal      intercourse, fondling or exposure to pornographic material. This also      includes suggestions that sexual favours can help (or refusal can hinder)      a career. Sexual abuse might also occur when inappropriate physical      contact takes place. (e.g. through inappropriate touching of children or      young people).

  5. Bullying – This is not      easy to define and can take many forms. The three main types are physical      (e.g. hitting, kicking and theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic      remarks, threats or name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an      individual from activities). There is also the abuse of trust—Where young      people are indoctrinated with attitudes to training, drugs and cheating,      or social, political and religious views, which are unacceptable to the      young footballer’s family, community or rules of the sport. The      inappropriate use of photographic material taken at sporting events is an      area of abuse that is increasing and all those involved within the sport      should be aware of this.

Identifying Abuse


It is the policy of Football Force Academy to ensure that every child or young person who takes part in football should be able to participate in a fun and safe environment and be protected from neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Key principles are:-

  • Anyone      under the age of 18 years should be considered as a child for the purpose      of this document.

  • The      child’s welfare is paramount.

  • All      children or young people whatever their age, culture, ability, gender,      language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the      right to protection from abuse.

  • All      suspicious incidents and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and      responded to swiftly and appropriately.

  • Coaches,      managers and other relevant people will be provided appropriate      documentation and support to ensure they are able to implement the policy.

  • Adults      working with children or young people are also provided protection and are      aware of the best practice so they can be protected from wrongful      allegations.

  • Working      in partnership with children or young people and their parents / carers is      essential for the protection of the child.

  • Football Force Academy recognises the statutory responsibility of Social Services      to ensure the welfare of children or young people and it is committed to      working with the appropriate Child Protection committee, and to complying      with their procedures.

  • Dealing      with child abuse is rarely straightforward. In some cases a child’s      disturbed behaviour or an injury may suggest that a child has been abused.

  • In      many situations however, the signs will not be clear-cut decisions about      what action to take can be difficult.

Possible Signs Include:

  • Uncharacteristic      changes in a child’s behaviour, attitude and commitment e.g. becoming      quiet and withdrawn, or displaying sudden outbursts of temper.

  • Pitch      or training ground gossip.

  • Bruises      and injuries not typical for the sport, or injuries for which the      explanation seems inconsistent.

  • Signs      of discomfort and pain.

  • Reluctance      to remove tracksuit or kit or take a shower.

  • The      child becomes increasingly dirty or unkempt.

  • The      child loses weight for no apparent reason.

  • Nervousness      when approached or touched.

  • Fear      of particular adults – especially those with whom a close relationship      would normally be expected.

  • The      child wishes to switch to another coach or team without a reasonable      explanation.

  • Inappropriate      sexual awareness.

  • Children      or young people who are always alone and unaccompanied and/or are      prevented from socialising with other children or young people.

  • Children      or young people who are reluctant to go home.

It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, and the presence of one or more indicators is not proof that abuse is actually taking place.

All children or young people will suffer cuts, bruises and grazes from time to time and their behaviour may sometimes give cause for concern. There may well be reasons for these factors other than abuse. If, however you are concerned about the welfare of a child or young person YOU MUST ACT. Do not assume that someone else will.

The Role Of The Club Will Be:

  • To      appoint a Club Welfare and Child Protection Officer, This is Simon Hatton,      you can speak with her in total confidence on 07972872488.

  • To      accept that all Officers, Managers, Assistants and Committee members have      responsibilities in this area and to be prepared to respond to any      indication of abuse.

  • To      be ready to amend bad practice.

  • To      implement any recommendations of the F.A or any other body / association      relating to this area.

  • To      maintain confidentiality of the child and the accused.

The Role Of The Child Protection Officer In The Club Will Be:

  • To      ensure all club helpers/officials/coaches complete a volunteer reference      form.

  • To      send all forms to the relevant body/association on request.

  • To      receive and advise on reports from other club members.

  • To      initiate action, ensuring all appropriate persons have been contacted.

Abuse May Become Apparent In A Number Of Ways:

  • A      child may tell you.

  • A      third party may have reported an incident, or may have a strong suspicion.

  • You      may have suspicions

If An Allegation Is Brought To Your Attention:

Step 1

  • Listen      and Reassure DO Stay calm: do not rush into inappropriate action.

  • Reassure      the child: that they are not to blame and confirm that you know how      difficult it must be to confide.

  • Listen      to and believe: show that you believe what the child says and that you      take them seriously.

  • Allow      only one adult to talk to the child: Any discrepancies in statements      may lead to legal problems.

  • Keep      questions to a minimum: In many cases it may be more appropriate to      nod and acknowledge the child’s account.

  • If      you must question the child then use open ended questions i.e. those where      more than a yes / no response is required.

  • The      law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed if it appears      that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested.

  • Ensure      that you clearly understood what the child has said: You should then pass      it on to the appropriate agencies.

  • Consult      with the identified Child Protection Officer: Ensure that you      communicate all the information accurately.

  • Maintain      confidentiality: Only the minimum number of people possible should be      informed.

  • DO      NOT panic: Follow the guidelines laid down here. Make promises you cannot      keep:

  • Explain      that you may have to tell other people in order to stop what is happening      whilst maintaining maximum possible confidentiality.

  • Delay:      Appropriate follow-up action must be taken immediately.

  • Take      sole responsibility for further action:

  • Contact      an appropriate person as soon as possible.

Step 2 – Record

  • Record      what the child has said and/or your concerns legibly and accurately.

  • Details      should include:

    • The child’s name, address and date of birth.

    • Date of time of the incidents and/or nature of allegation. . your       observations e.g. describe the behaviour and emotional state of the child       and/or bruising or other injuries.

    • The child’s account—if it can be given —of what has happened.

    • Any action that you took as a result of your concerns e.g.       comments made to the child, whether the parents/carers have been       contacted.

  • Record      whether the person writing the report is expressing his or her own      concerns or passing on those of someone else.

  • Sign      and date the report.

  • Keep      a copy of the report.

  • Please      note that when a disclosure is made, it is the person to whom the      disclosure is made that the authorities (Police and/or social services)      will come to for an account of what was said. This first hand account is      of primary importance.

Step 3 – Involve The Appropriate People

Once you have completed your report you must ensure that the Child Protection Officer in your club has been informed so a decision can be made as to the most appropriate action.

This person must forward the report to the relevant Child Protection Officer indicating whether further action is required. If you are unhappy with the Child Protection Officer’s handling of the incident or unhappy that the allegations are made specifically against a particular individual you should contact the person in charge immediately and make a record of this.

This person might be the Club Chairman, Committee member or the Team Manager. The person in charge shall then contact the Social Services and/or the Police immediately. A record of the name and designation of the official informed, together with the time and date of the call should be kept, in case future contact is required. Contact should also be made directly to the Child Protection Officer of the relevant body/association. In all cases do not delay.

If you cannot contact the persons above immediately, you must contact the authorities (Police and/or Social Services).

If you are unsure what to do, advice can be obtained from the F.A Child Protection Help line 0808 800 500 or from your local Social Services department.

Promoting Good Practice

By promoting good practice throughout the Club and in the wider context of football it is possible to reduce situations where abuse of children or young people can arise.

The Club should have a policy that ensures children or young people are protected and kept safe from harm, and everyone should know what to do if there are concerns about abuse and where the procedures are kept.

The appointment of a Child Protection Officer is key in this process and he/she will be encouraged to promote good practice throughout the Club by ensuring everyone is aware of their responsibilities. This role may include leading by example organising simple training briefings and the use of leaflets/posters and notices throughout the various areas used by the Club.

Use Of Photography And Video Recorders

There has been an increase in the misuse of sports photography and video recording within the sporting arena. To reduce the risk of abuse to children or young people, some Sports Centres require any person wishing to use cameras and video recorders to declare their interest by filling in a simple form which asks their name, address, who they are with, and the reason for the use of the camera/video recorder.

This is not intended to prevent bona fide use of this equipment for family or coaching purposes but may deter the inappropriate use of such material. Clubs, Event Promoters and Sport Centres are encouraged to adopt this practice.


There is a possibility that bullying may occur between children or young people and all involved in football are encouraged to be aware of this possibility. Clubs are encouraged to adopt an anti-bulling policy and ensure that everyone understands that bullying will not be tolerated in any form.

Clubs must be prepared to take the problem seriously and investigate any incident and decide on appropriate action, also ensuring that children or young people are able to report the instance of bullying (either to themselves or team members) to someone in authority, preferably the Child Protection Officer.

Team Management/Team Travel

Implicit within this policy is the duty of care that a Team Manager and/or Club has to its young footballers when travelling to events.

It is recommended that Clubs travel with a full address list and contact telephone numbers for all the children or young people within their team and the permission of the parent/guardian of each child (the inclusion of special instructions, dietary requirements and allergies is also extremely useful). This will allow Team Managers to take the necessary action in the event of an emergency.

Overnight Stays

For those events that require an overnight stay in lodgings/hotels it is essential that Team Managers take the necessary action to prevent the misuse of alcohol (from hotel mini bars etc.) and access to adult video/film channel



Coaches are key to the establishment of ethics in football. Their concept of ethics and their attitude directly affects the behaviour of players under their supervision. Coaches are, therefore, expected to pay particular care to the moral aspect of their conduct.

Coaches have to be aware that almost all of their everyday decisions and choices of actions, as well as strategic targets, have ethical implications.

It is natural that winning constitutes a basic concern for coaches. This code is not intended to conflict with that. However, the code calls for coaches to disassociate themselves from a “win-at-all-costs” attitude. Increased responsibility is requested from coaches involved in coaching young people.

The health, safety, welfare and moral education of young people are a first priority, before the achievement or the reputation of the club, school, coach or parent.

Set out below is The F.A. Coaches Association Code of Conduct (which reflects the standards expressed by the National Coaching Foundation and the National Association of Sports Coaches) which forms the benchmark for all involved in coaching:

  1. Coaches      must respect the rights, dignity and worth of each and every person and      treat each equally within the context of the sport.

  2. Coaches      must place the well-being and safety of each player above all other      considerations, including the development of performance.

  3. Coaches      must adhere to all guidelines laid down by governing bodies.

  4. Coaches      must develop an appropriate working relationship with each player based on      mutual trust and respect.

  5. Coaches      must not exert undue influence to obtain personal benefit or reward.

  6. Coaches      must encourage and guide players to accept responsibility for their own      behaviour and performance.

  7. Coaches      must ensure that the activities they direct or advocate are appropriate      for the age, maturity, experience and ability of players.

  8. Coaches      should, at the outset, clarify with the players (and, where appropriate,      parent) exactly what is expected of them and also what they are entitled      to expect from their coach.

  9. Coaches      must co-operate fully with other specialists (e.g. other coaches,      officials, sports scientists, doctors, physiotherapists) in the best      interests of the player.

  10. Coaches      must always promote the positive aspects of the sport (e.g. fair play) and      never condone violations of the Laws of the Game, behaviour contrary to      the spirit of the Laws of the Game or relevant rules and regulations or      the use of prohibited substances or techniques.

  11. Coaches      must consistently display high standards of behaviour and appearance.

  12. Coaches      must not use or tolerate inappropriate language.


Parents and spectators have a great influence on children’s enjoyment and success in football. All children play football because they first and foremost love the game – it’s fun. It is important to remember that however good a child becomes at football within the club it is important to reinforce the message to parents/spectators that positive encouragement will contribute to:

  • Children      enjoying football.

  • A      sense of personal achievement.

  • Self-esteem.

  • Improving      the child’s skills and techniques.

A parent’s and spectator’s expectations and attitudes have a significant bearing on a child’s attitude towards:

  • Other      players

  • Officials

  • Managers

  • Spectators

Ensure that parents and spectators within the club are always positive and encouraging towards all of the children not just their own (please ensure you stand behind the respect barriers as this really does help).

Encourage parents and spectators to:

  • Applaud      the opposition as well as your own team.

  • Avoid      coaching the child during the game.

  • Not      to shout and scream.

  • Respect      the referee’s decision.

  • Give      attention to each of the children involved in football not just the most      talented.

  • Give      encouragement to everyone who participates in football.

  • Ensure      that parents/spectators within the club agree and adhere to the club’s      Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy.



Whistle-blowing can be used as an early warning system or when it’s recognised that appropriate actions have not been taken. This approach or policy is adopted in many different walks of life.

It is about revealing and raising concerns over misconduct or malpractice within an organisation or within an independent structure associated with it. Any adult or young person with concerns about a colleague can also use whistle-blowing by calling 0800 169 1863 and asking for The FA’s safeguarding team, or via email on

Alternatively you can go direct the Police or Children’s Social Care and report your concerns there, or to the Child Protection in Sport Unit via or theNSPCC Helpline via 0808 800 5000 or by emailing



The Association is responsible for setting the standards and values to apply throughout football at every level. Football is for everyone; it belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, anyone who wants to participate in it.

The aim of this policy is to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect and that The FA is equally accessible to all.

All Participants should abide and adhere to this Policy and to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

The Association’s commitment is to promote inclusion and to confront and eliminate discrimination whether by reason of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status or civil partnership race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability, pregnancy and maternity and to encourage equal opportunities.

This Policy is fully supported by the Board of The Association and the Director of Football Regulation and Administration is responsible for the implementation of this policy.

The Association will ensure that it treats people fairly and with respect and that it will provide access and opportunities for all members of the community to take part in, and enjoy, its activities.

The Association will not tolerate harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, abuse or victimisation of a Participant, which for the purposes of this Policy and the actions and sanction applicable is regarded as discrimination, whether physical or verbal. The Association will work to ensure that such behaviour is met with appropriate action in whatever context it occurs.

The Association commits itself to the immediate investigation of any allegation, when it is brought to their attention, of discrimination and where such is found to be the case, The Association will require that the practice stop and impose sanctions as appropriate.

The Association is committed to inclusion and anti-discrimination and raising awareness and educating, investigating concerns and applying relevant and proportionate sanctions, campaigning, achieving independently verified equality standards, widening diversity and representation and promoting diverse role models are all key actions to promote inclusion and eradicate discrimination within football.