Safeguarding and Child Protection


Safeguarding means taking proactive action to protect people from harm or abuse through appropriate prevention and response measures and promoting their wellbeing. It means doing everything possible to identify and address risks and to prevent any kind of harm or abuse from happening such as physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect, trafficking and exploitation. It also means having appropriate systems in place to adequately address and respond to concerns.

Child protection is an essential part of safeguarding and refers to the action taken in response to a specific concern for a child or children who may be suffering or is/are at risk of suffering harm or abuse. It requires referral to specialised child protection services, law enforcement agencies and expert local organisations that are trained to advise on, and manage, cases, if concerns arise about a child’s welfare.

FIFA’s mission is to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all. As part of that effort, "FIFA’s Strategic Objectives 2023-2027" sets out FIFA’s commitment to promote safe sport as part of broader efforts to protect human rights.

One of the cornerstones of this commitment is the FIFA Guardians safeguarding programme. The FIFA Guardians programme provides a framework to help our 211 member associations (MA's) to prevent any risk of harm to children in football and respond appropriately, as called for in article 3 of the FIFA Statutes and in line with article 23 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Everyone in football has the right to protection from harassment, abuse and exploitation – be it physical, emotional or, sexual, neglect or bullying. When members of the football family, such as players, coaches, officials, volunteers or staff members, are subjected to or engage in, abusive behaviour or misconduct, it undermines FIFA's mission and is inconsistent with promoting the integrity of football and the values of safe sport.

Children (all those under 18) have specific rights to protection, as articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), because of their need to be cared for and owing to their dependency on others. FIFA also identifies young people over the age of 18, women and persons with disabilities as especially vulnerable groups who must be safeguarded in the delivery of our game.  

Millions of children around the world are involved in football. What these children all have in common is the right to enjoy football in a safe environment, in a culture of respect and understanding.
Gianni Infantino
FIFA President