Safeguarding policy guidance

Who is this toolkit for

This is a resource for all stakeholders working to safeguard children in football. Specifically, it is intended for MAs

  • to promote accountability and responsibility for keeping children safe from harm when involved in any football activity;

  • to self-assess and inform the development of their safeguarding policies, plans and programmes, including for human resource and training needs;

  • to assist coordinators and technical staff with risk assessments and the development of safeguarding plans and programmes;

  • to support practitioners, such as coaches, trainers, medical personnel, staff and volunteers, who provide services, training and programmes to children to apply good practice for effective action.

FIFA Guardians Toolkit

FIFA child safeguarding toolkit for member associations.

The five steps towards safeguarding children

The FIFA Guardians Toolkit is a practical resource for all stakeholders working to safeguard children in football. Specifically, it is intended to support FIFA’s Member Associations in developing safeguarding policy and procedures in line with their local legal and cultural context and in collaboration with the local expert partners and relevant authorities.

 Safeguarding - The 5 steps

Some MAs have well developed policies and procedures in place, others are just starting out on their safeguarding journey. Depending on what stage of the journey your MA is in, these five steps, taken together, are intended to help you refocus current efforts and implement minimum requirements to keep children safe in football. The steps are underpinned by recognised best practice to help you develop a long-term system of safeguarding.

Step 1: Assess existing reality

 Safeguarding - Step 1

The first step towards safeguarding children in football is to consider:

  • The ways in which children are involved in football in your country.

  • Undertaking an assessment to understand what is already in place to safeguard them. You may not consider certain actions in terms of ”safeguarding”, but it is likely that you are already undertaking a number of measures to safeguard children in your country.

  • What agencies and organisations exist within your country to safeguard and protect children and to promote their rights ? These locally based expert agencies and organisations may be able to provide guidance and support you in safeguarding and protecting children involved in football in your country.

Step 2: Define your safeguarding policy

 Safeguarding - Step 2

Every MA that engages directly or indirectly with children has a duty to do all it can to protect children from harm within football and to promote their well-being. A child safeguarding policy provides MAs with a formal approach to managing this duty of care.

As a minimum, your policy should :

  • Be approved by your executive committee or council and have an associated action plan.

  • Identify a lead officer on child safeguarding.

  • Have a dedicated safeguarding internal steering group and / or external advisory group to help the development, implementation and monitoring of your safeguarding measures.

Step 3: Implement the policy

 Safeguarding - Step 3

It is essential to have or develop procedures in the following three areas:

  • responding to concerns about a child

  • selecting, appointing and training people who work with children and young people

  • guidelines for the identification, prevention or minimisation of risk to children involved in football

Step 4: Communicate and educate

 Safeguarding - Step 4

As a minimum, education should include:

  • Awareness-raising for everyone coming into contact with children and young people in football. This should include how to recognise and respond to concerns and standards of expected behaviour.

  • Education for those requiring more specialist knowledge, such as staff who will be managing child-related concerns or recruiting people to work with children.

  • Awareness-raising for children and their families

Step 5: Monitor and improve

Monitoring and evaluating your policy and how it is implemented is an essential part of keeping children safe.

This should include a process for reviewing any concerns that are received, as well as measures for success if your policy, procedures and guidelines are implemented