Football is a superb team sport for children, whether they participate in the game essentially for recreational reasons or they have ambitions of a professional career. It’s legitimate, though, for parents to be concerned that their children are properly protected from abusive and predatory behaviour from adults, when they are playing sports.
Importance of safeguarding children
While most of the people involved in coaching children and young people are decent and honourable, recent events have demonstrated that there are exceptions, and that constant care and vigilance is needed. As this Guardian feature illustrates, there are some profoundly troubling aspects of the way in which this issue has been managed historically in British football: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/02/the-football-child-abuse-scandal-just-keeps-on-growing. This report underlines the critical importance of robust safeguarding measures that are widely understood and implemented.
FA safeguarding courses
The Football Association (FA) has received a great deal of criticism over its record in child protection, but it is addressing its shortcomings and currently offers a number of safeguarding courses to help coaches, parents, welfare officers and others connected with the game. By way of example, it runs a safeguarding children workshop which aims to equip attendees with the tools to:
– recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse
– understand how to deal with concerns and know who to approach for help
– develop a strategy for safeguarding children that can be enforced across an organisation
– identify and build on best practice within the game.
For more information on FA safeguarding resources, we would recommend that you read: http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/safeguarding/safeguarding-children
Safe, inclusive and fun
The game of football has so much to offer children and young people. As well as helping to keep them fit and healthy, it builds confidence and teaches the importance of teamwork, cooperation and hard work. It can also be tremendous fun. For parents, football has the added advantage of being comparatively easy to organise and much less expensive than many other sports. Cheap football team kits can be readily obtained from such suppliers as https://www.kitking.co.uk/.
The FA safeguarding courses aim to ensure that children can enjoy the benefits of the game in safety and without fear and that the adults charged with protecting them – whether they be coaches, referees or parents – can be confident that they are armed with the skills to prevent abuse.