Tuesday 09 April 2024, 07:00

Football for Schools passes new milestone with incorporation of safeguarding into the programme

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection was added to the programme for the launch in Vietnam in March

  • Vietnamese teachers who took part in the launch were given comprehensive guidance

  • Children must be protected from harm and abuse

The launch for Football for Schools in Vietnam, which took place over three days in March, was especially significant as, for the first time, Safeguarding and Child Protection was added to the programme.

Protecting those who play football from harassment, harm and abuse is a priority for FIFA and even more so in any context involving children. FIFA Football for Schools, which teaches children life skills through football and has been launched in over 100 countries, aligns with this objective. By advocating for the integration of prevention and response measures into the operations of its Member Associations and where relevant through its own programmes, FIFA ensures that children participating in football activities are better protected while enjoying the game.

Some of the recommended prevention measures include, among others, establishing codes of conduct or other safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as implementing protocols for reporting and responding to concerns. Through this revised module introduced in Vietnam, FIFA not only promotes the physical and emotional well-being of children but also fosters a safer environment for them to enjoy the benefits of sports participation.

During the launch of the programme in Hanoi, Vietnam, seventy-four male and female PE teachers from the 16 provinces in the north of the country learned the basics of the programme, as well as comprehensive guidance related to how to enhance safeguarding and child protection in their own context.

"When they (the children) feel safe, when they feel happy, when they feel [they’re having] fun, they would participate and that is where physical development would come, that is where life skills development would come," said Nguyen Hoang Phuong, a graduate of the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport diploma.

"The actual integration of safeguarding in the first FIFA Football for Schools course or training [during] these days has been a great initiative from FIFA. From the lesson that I learned, what we have done was really to integrate child safeguarding in all the coaching training courses of our project in Vietnam."

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 2023-27 include a 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 which provides an educational and capacity building framework to guide FIFA’s 211 Member Associations in putting in place safeguarding procedures and processes to minimise any risk of harm towards everyone including children in football and to respond appropriately.