SAFEGUARDING 16/17-YEAR-OLD PLAYERS IN OPEN-AGE ADULT FOOTBALL.
A Guide For Clubs With 16/17-Year-Old Players
The FA and Devon FA are beginning a proactive drive to help support clubs to understand and ensure they are embracing their responsibilities for safeguarding 16/17 year old players.
This story outlines the key issues and actions required by clubs.
Every affiliated football club that involves under-18s must ensure appropriate safeguards are in place. This guide aims to support clubs with open-age adult teams who have 16/17-year-old players.
Everyone working with under-18s, whether in youth or open-age adult football, is subject to The FA's Safeguarding Policy and Procedures (click here to learn more) and the underpinning legislative guidance.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), is an agency delivering the government's requirements for vetting checks for those working with under-18s and they have declared that if a team has or is likely to have one or more 16/17-year-old in an adult football team, and if the time that the coaches and managers work with these children that exceeds more than three days in any 30 day period, then this is deemed as 'regulated activity'. This requires the eligible coaches and managers working with these under-18s to undertake the requisite DBS Check.
The Club management committee has a collective responsibility to manage these safeguards and is required to:
1. Identify which teams have or are likely to have 16/17-year-old players.
- If they are registered with your team, then you must start thinking about putting the appropriate safeguards in place, even if the players haven't played for them yet.
2. Identify the coach/manager for each team (including any assistant coaches/managers)
- Someone must be identified in this role; they do not have to have any coaching qualifications to be named as the coach/team manager. List them on The FA's Whole Game System, this can be done by the Club Secretary, assistant secretary or if you have any youth teams by the Club Welfare Officer (Youth Teams).
- If the coach/manager changes you must update this information.
3. Support coaches to complete an FA DBS Check*
*Formerly referred to as an FA Criminal Records Check (CRC)
- If you are linked with a Youth section, please find out who their Club Welfare Officer is as they may be able to talk you through the process.
- Read The FA DBS Check – FAQs - click here
- If your club uses ‘Matchday’ you might want to consider using the PayPal funding (£100) to pay for the coaches’ DBS Checks;
- Check if your league offers any financial support for DBS Checks.
4. Adopt and adhere to The FA's Safeguarding Children Policy
- Read and use The FA's Safeguarding Children Policy Club Template - click here
5. Provide 16/17-year-old players with safeguarding information
- Distribute the FA's guidance “Know your rights” to all 16/17-year-old players, host this information on your club website and consider making it part of a ‘welcome pack’ for new players aged 16/17 years old. Click here to download The FA 'Know your rights' guidance; and also visit www.thefa.com.
Devon FA's Designated Safeguarding Officer, Matt Hodgson - firstname.lastname@example.org
The FA's safeguarding information has 12 sections and offers a variety of downloads all of which can be accessed here
1. Football's safeguarding framework;
2. Reporting concerns;
3. Safer recruitment and DBS Checks;
4. Safeguarding training;
5. The Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) network;
6. Safeguarding in the digital world;
7. Children and young people (under-18s);
8. Parents and carers;
9. Support for survivors;
10. Safeguarding adults in disability football;
11. The complete downloads section;
12. Other key safeguarding organisations.
Further FA safeguarding information can be accessed via the 'Complete Downloads Directory'.