The FA has recognised the need for greater consistency in safeguarding across the game and this includes new measures to protect 16 and 17 year old players in open age football. We know that there are around 40,000 registered 16 and 17 year old players in grassroots football in England. Playing in open age football is a fantastic opportunity for young players to progress and be challenged both technically and physically, however club officials, managers and players must also recognise that these young players are still legally children.
Every affiliated football club that involves under 18s must ensure appropriate safeguards are in place. Everyone working with under 18s, whether in youth or open age football, is subject to the FA’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
What should clubs do?
1. Identify which teams have or are likely to have 16/17 year old players
2. Identify the coach/manager for each team (including any assistant coaches/managers) and ensure that they are listed on the Whole Game System
3. Ensure coaches complete an FA DBS check
4. Adopt and adhere to the FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy
5. Provide 16/17 year old players with safeguarding information, including the FA’s Know Your Rights document
6. Encourage club officials to complete the free FA online Safeguarding for All and Safeguarding Adults training
What can leagues do to ensure that Safeguarding is promoted and embedded across the game?
Leagues are encouraged to appoint a League Safeguarding Advocate (LSA) whose role it is to:
1. Proactively promote safeguarding with all registered clubs
2. Promote the FA’s Safeguarding information available on TheFA.com
3. Ensure safeguarding is a standard item at Committee Meetings/AGM
4. Monitor data reports showing teams that register players aged 16/17 years old
5. Support clubs to identify local DBS verifiers
6. Remind clubs of the actions that they should take (as listed above)
For further advice or support, please do not hesitate to contact the Safeguarding Team – email@example.com