1. Child Protection Policy Statement
The Surrey Youth League (“the League”) recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people (defined as any person under the age of 18) involved in football which it organises or which it supervises and is committed to working to provide them with a safe environment. The League subscribes to The Football Association’s Child Protection Best Practice Policy and Procedures, Safeguarding Children and Young People in Football (Revised Edition 2006) and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document namely:-

“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 should be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football. 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, therefore, 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 so long as they choose to do so”.

2. Key Principles
The key principles of this Safeguarding Children Policy and that of the FA are that:-

  • The child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
  • All children and young people have the right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs 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/carers is essential

3. Acknowledgement
We acknowledge that every child or young person who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable safe environment and be protected from poor practice and abuse. The League recognises that this is the responsibility of every adult involved in football organised or supervised by the League.

4. Role
The League has a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is noted and accepted that the Football Association regulations (set out in Appendix 2A hereto) apply to all persons involved in football whether in a paid or voluntary capacity. This means whether you are a volunteer, match official, helper on club tours, coach, club official or medical staff.

The League endorses and will apply the Football Association regulations and will treat any infraction of those regulations as misconduct which will be the subject of the disciplinary procedures set out in the League Rules in addition to any other procedures which may be undertaken by any other body or authority.

The League also endorses and adopts the FA’s Safeguarding Children and Best Practice Guidelines for recruiting volunteers and will:-

  • Develop a role profile
  • Request identification documents
  • As a minimum, meet and discuss with the applicants and where possible will conduct interviews before appointing
  • Request and follow up with 2 references before appointing
  • Require an FA CRB Unit Enhanced Disclosure where appropriate in line with FA Guidelines

All current League officials with direct access to children and young people will be required to complete a CRB Enhanced Disclosure via the FA CRB Unit. If there are concerns regarding the appropriateness of an individual who is already involved or who has approached the League to become one of its officials, guidance will be sought from the Football Association. It is noted and accepted that the FA will consider the relevance and significance of the information obtained via the FA CRB Unit and that all decisions will be made in the best interests of children and young people.

It is accepted that the FA aims to prevent people with a history of relevant and significant offending from having contact with children or young people and the opportunity to influence policies or practice with children or young people. This is to prevent direct sexual or physical harm to children and young people and to minimise the risk of “grooming” within football.

5. Whistle Blowing
The League supports the FA’s whistle blowing policy. Any adult or young person with concerns about a colleague can whistle blow by contacting the FA Child Protection Team or by writing to the FA Case Manager at the Football Association, 25 Soho Square, London W1D 4FA or by going direct to the police, social services or the NSPCC. The League encourages member clubs to familiarise themselves with the FA whistle blowing policy and to adopt it.

6. Youth League & Club Welfare Officer
The League has appointed a Youth League Welfare Officer (YLWO) and requires each member club to have appointed a Club Welfare Officer (CWO) in line with the FA’s guidance as the appropriate profile for this role and following completion by the relevant individual of the FA Safeguarding Children workshop (formerly known as Child Protection and Best Practice workshop). The YLWO & CWO will also be required to complete the FA’s Welfare Officer Workshop (WOW). The YLWO & CWO will be the first point of contact for parents/carers regarding concerns for the welfare of any child or young person They liaise directly with the County FA Child Protection Officer (CFAWO) and will be familiar with the procedures for referring any concerns. They will also play a proactive role in increasing an awareness of poor practice and abuse within the League, in the case of the YLWO and within their respective clubs in the case of the CWO.

7. Bullying
We acknowledge and endorse the FA’s identification of bullying as a category of abuse. Bullying of any kind is not acceptable within the League. If bullying does occur, all parents or parents/carers should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly. Incidents need to be reported to the YLWO and/or CWO or alternatively in cases of serious bullying, contact may be made with the CFAWO..

8. Codes of Conduct
Codes of Conduct for coaches, players, officials and parents/carers have been implemented by the League and are contained in Appendix 2B. Failure to comply with the Code of Conduct constitutes misconduct which may the subject of disciplinary sanction in accordance with the League rules.

9. Further Advice
Further advice on Safeguarding Children matters can be obtained from:-

  • The Surrey County Football Association Welfare Officer, whose details can be found in the County Handbook
  • The FA/NSPCC Child Protection 24 hour Helpline 0808 800 5000
  • The FA Child Protection team