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 be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football, thus every club is required to endorse and adhere to The Association’s Safeguarding Children policy.
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 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 for as long as they choose to do so. The Safeguarding Children Policy is supported by The FA’s Respect programme to address verbal abuse and bullying of youngsters by parents and coaches on the sidelines. The Association’s Safeguarding Children policy principles are that:
the child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
all children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, faith 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 and carers is essential.
The FA is committed to working in partnership with the Police, Children’s Services Departments, and Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCB) in accordance with their procedures. This is essential to enable these organisations to carry out their statutory duties to investigate concerns and protect all children and young people.
The Association’s Safeguarding Children Policy is in response to government legislation and guidance, developed to safeguard the welfare and development of children and young people.
As set out in The Football Association’s Safeguarding Children Policy, The Association is committed to safeguarding children within football and has Case Management procedures in place to assess the suitability of individuals to be involved with children in football.
In assessing that suitability, children’s welfare is the paramount consideration. Towards this, The Association has the power under the Safeguarding Children Regulations to issue a suspension where any one or more of the following applies:
The individual fails to comply with any part of The Association’s Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Process;
The individual has been barred by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) from engaging in regulated activity relating to children;
The individual has been disqualified from working with children under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000;
The individual is subject to any other restriction to their involvement with children due to an order made pursuant to statute;
The individual has been convicted of, or made the subject of a caution for, an “Offence” defined in paragraph 1 of the Regulations;
Following a risk assessment, The Association is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the individual poses or may pose a risk of harm to children.
1(a). In these Regulations the expression “Offence” shall mean any one or more of the offences contained in the Schedules of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and any other criminal offence which reasonably causes The Association to believe that the person accused of the offence poses or may pose a risk of harm to a child or children.
1(b). Where any case is referred to the Safeguarding Review Panel pursuant to these Regulations, it shall be considered by the Panel on the basis of written material only. No party shall be permitted to attend to address the Safeguarding Review Panel.
THE ASSOCIATION’S CRB PROCESS
All persons applying for or currently in such positions that The Association deems relevant whose duties include regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in charge of children, must comply with the requirements of The Association’s CRB process. These requirements are:
To obtain an FA Enhanced CRB Disclosure; and
To provide any such further detail, explanation or clarification of any or all part or parts of that Enhanced Disclosure, or any matter revealed by it, as may be required by The Association; and
Where required, to provide at least two references that attest to their suitability to be involved in youth football. The spouse or partner of the person subject to this requirement cannot act as a referee for this purpose. Any reference provided by a spouse or partner will not be accepted; and
To comply with each of the requirements set out in regulations (i) – (iii) above within any such time limit as The Association may stipulate.
Any person who fails to comply with any of the requirements set out in sub-paragraphs (i) – (iv) above shall be subject to an immediate suspension from football activity, on such terms and for such period as The Association may stipulate.
INTERIM SUSPENSION ORDERS
Upon receipt by The Association of:
3.1. Notification that an individual has been charged with an Offence; or
3.2. Notification that an individual is the subject of an investigation by the Police, Children’s Services or any other authority relating to an Offence; or
3.3. Any other information which causes The Association reasonably to believe that a person poses or may pose a risk of harm to a child or children.
The Association shall have the power to order that the individual be suspended from all or any specific football activity for such a period and on such terms and conditions as it deems appropriate. Such suspensions will be issued by the Case Manager or his/her nominee. The initial notification of any such suspension sent to an individual shall set out the right of appeal contained in Regulation 6 below.
In determining whether an order under regulation 3 should be made, the Case Manager or his/her nominee shall give consideration, inter alia, to the following factors:
4.1. Whether a child is or children are or may be at risk of harm;
4.2. Whether the matters are of a serious nature;
4.3. Whether an order is necessary or desirable to allow the conduct of any investigation by The Association or any other authority or body to proceed unimpeded having regard to the need for any suspension order to be proportionate.
All such suspension orders will be reviewed at the next meeting of The Association’s Safeguarding Review Panel. The Panel may ratify, modify or remove any such suspension, or make any other order in relation to that suspension as it deems appropriate.
The total period of an order referred to in Regulation 3 above shall not last beyond the final determination of any related case under the Rules of The Association.
Any individual subject to a suspension order under Regulation 3 may appeal against it once the period of three months from the imposition of the suspension order by the Case Manager/nominee has elapsed.
Such appeals shall be considered by the Safeguarding Review Panel. At least one member of any Panel considering an appeal shall not have been a member of any Panel which conducted the initial review, under Regulation 4 above, of the suspension order being appealed.
To bring an appeal under Regulation 6, the individual must give notice in writing to the Case Manager/nominee, requesting such an appeal. The individual may submit any written material in support of the appeal. Such material must be submitted within 14 days of giving such notice or it may not be considered by the Safeguarding Review Panel.
The Safeguarding Review Panel shall consider all written material submitted by the individual requesting the appeal and in support of that appeal. The Case Manager/nominee may also submit any written material for consideration by the Panel.
On considering an appeal, the Safeguarding Review Panel shall have the power to make any order in relation to the interim suspension order as it deems appropriate, including ratifying, modifying or removing it. The Panel shall also have power to make any order in relation to the conduct of the appeal proceedings as it deems appropriate, including requiring more information from either the individual or the Case Manager/nominee.
Any appeal under Regulation 6 shall be heard by the Safeguarding Review Panel at the earliest opportunity, following receipt of notice in writing and any written material in support of the appeal from the individual.
Where an order is imposed on an individual under Regulation 3 above, The Association shall bring and conclude any proceedings under the Rules of The Association against the person relating to the matters as soon as reasonably practicable.