Safeguarding U18s in Open Age Football
The safeguarding of under-18 players in football is essential to ensure that everyone plays their part in making the game safe for everyone to enjoy.
In North Riding, there are many leagues and clubs that offer opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds to play in open age adult football. This is a great way for a club to grow and maintain its youth talent and also provides chances for the young players to improve their skills and knowledge of the adult game.
We also need everyone involved to recognise that anyone who is under the age of 18 is classed, by law, as a child and so extra safeguards need to be in place to limit risk. The FA are working towards bringing the same standards that apply for all youth football in to apply for open age football where there are under 18 year old players involved. It is important for clubs and leagues recognise that these players will enjoy and thrive as long as their environment allows them to have safe experiences that are adapted to be age-appropriate.
We ask clubs and leagues to work with everyone to be mindful of the children present where appropriate and consider communication and language, the physical environment such as showers and changing rooms, and making sure that these players feel safe, empowered and comfortable in reporting anything that might make them feel ill at ease.
Your Safeguarding Responsibilities
To find out more about your safeguarding responsibilities as a league or club, please see the leaflet below:
The FA would like all Open Age/Adult clubs with 16 and 17 year old's players to adopt a Safeguarding policy where processes for dealing with concerns and for reporting issues are clearly set out and all committee members and team managers are on board with the Safeguarding agenda. Please see the link below to a Safeguarding Policy template you can adopt:
It is a legal requirement for all people who work or volunteer with u18s to have an in date DBS.
DBS certificates are issued to specific organisations and so if someone holds a DBS for their job this will not be relevant to their footballing role and they will have to apply for a FA DBS, which once accepted will show on the applicant's FAN record.
All coaches, managers, assistants, physios and first aiders with even just one u18 player in their squad, including on loan, or training only, will require an FA enhanced DBS.
Please contact your league, in particular your League Safeguarding Advocate (LSA) for a guide on how to do this or if you have an associated youth team they may be able to support you applying through WGS. For more information please follow the link below:
ADULT DISABILITY FOOTBALL
The FA have developed several resources to support adult disability teams in making sure that their club is promoting the best safeguarding standards. Please view the guidance in the link below.
PLAYER WELFARE COURSE
This free course is for coaches, club welfare officers and committee members within open age football (teams with players aged 16+), and will look at player welfare while covering a range of topics.
England Football Welfare Hub
England Football also has a hub of information available to welfare officers, packed with resources and useful articles.