A Letter from North Riding County FA’s Safeguarding Team

Please take some time to read this letter ahead of National Safeguarding Weekend

Dear Parents / Guardians / Carers and Spectators,

Although the vast majority of spectators are very positive and encouraging of players, we have real concerns over the increasing number of allegations of poor behaviour displayed by parents and spectators within the youth grassroots game.

With the FA National Safeguarding Weekend approaching (20 /21 November) and the focus being on the safeguarding of children, we want to relay the message that North Riding County FA will not tolerate any foul and abusive language or behaviour from anyone involved in the youth game. Whilst we appreciate this message is aimed at a small minority of adults who wish to ruin the matchday experience for young children, please be advised that we will have no hesitation in using the full scope of the FA disciplinary system to deal with individual offenders and clubs reported and subsequently found guilty of misconduct.

Please play your part in ensuring the grassroots youth game is a happy and fun environment, with the main focus being on celebrating the opportunities these children have to play a game they love. Youth football should be about children’s development, allowing them to learn how to play the game they love, to try new things or positions and make mistakes, with zero pressure! 

Children will make mistakes, and they need to be able to make their own decisions on the field of play so they can learn from these and develop their football/social skills further. This also applies to our young and newly qualified referees who are also in the process of learning and developing their trade.

Please take this weekend as an opportunity to start to think and reflect upon the impact that yours and/or others’ adults behaviours on the side-line have upon the children on the pitch. 

Please accept the game for what it is, a game of football. Yes emotions run high but after the recent months we need to keep perspective. Opinions on football are often extremely subjective and almost everyone has a different opinion – isn’t that why we love this wonderful game?!

The vast majority of clubs are run by volunteers. Volunteers who are just as busy as you with jobs, families and other responsibilities, but they give up time and effort freely to give your children an opportunity to play football. Without these wonderful people your children would not have clubs to play within. Each incident of misconduct reported means extra work for volunteers, on top of all the day-to-day responsibilities of helping to run a grassroots football club. There is a lot of work that takes place in the background to enable your child to enjoy football, please remain mindful of this.

As mentioned previously some allegations of misconduct from parents/spectators result in the FA having to charge the club. As a consequence of the actions of a small minority of adults, the whole club suffers. If allegations against a spectator/s is proven, via the FA disciplinary process, this not only reflects badly upon the club, this almost always results in a financial penalty. Repeated incidents such as these could mean that clubs are unable to purchase new equipment, new strips, etc. We don’t want the children to go without, do we?

Please be mindful of your actions and behaviour this weekend and every weekend. Review your club’s codes of conducts and ensure that you abide by these at all times, keeping the Respect ethos ’We Only Do Positive’ in mind at all times.

Please also play your part in reminding others of their responsibility in safeguarding children and providing the best possible environment at all times so that they can thrive. If you see unacceptable behaviour, please report it. This can be done via your club’s coach on the day of a game or to the Club Welfare Officer. You are also able to submit reports directly to us at North Riding County FA via 

Please play your part and let children “Play Safe”. 

Kind Regards,

North Riding County FA Safeguarding Team