Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

Old St Mary’s Football Club (OSMFC) is committed to providing an environment in which young players feel safe, valued and respected. A ‘young player’ is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Every young person who plays football for OSMFC should be able to do so in an enjoyable and safe way and be protected from any form of abuse. The club actively encourages the involvement of new young players and recognises the special responsibilities that are involved with their participation.

OSMFC is affiliated to the Amateur Football Combination (AFC), a competition in which our teams play league football. The AFC aims to maintain standards of football which provide an ideal environment for clubs to introduce youth players into senior football. There is a strong emphasis on good player behaviour which is formally monitored on a game by game basis in all AFC competitions.

2. Main Safeguarding Aims

OSMFC subscribes to The Football Association’s (The FA) Safeguarding Children – Policy and Procedures and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document. The key principles of The FA Safeguarding Children Policy are that:

  • the young player’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
  • all young players have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation, faith or belief
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

3. Procedures

The following procedures include best practice advice from the AFC as well as those which are specific to OSMFC. They are as follows:

  • No player under the age of 16 is allowed to participate in ‘open age football’ (including training) whatever the status of the game
  • A copy of this safeguarding policy will be provided for the parents of all young players who join the club
  • Given that separate changing facilities are not available, all adult players should ensure that their language and behaviour does not make any young players feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or intimidated. Where possible, more than one responsible adult should be present when a young person is changing
  • The use of cameras and mobile phones with video or picture capacity is prohibited in changing rooms where young players are changing
  • During training and games young players should be encouraged and not subjected to negative comments or bullying behaviour, whether physical, verbal or emotional – captains should make sure that senior players understand their responsibilities in this respect.
  • Mature, responsible club members may give lifts to young players to games but captains must make sure that drivers can guarantee a safe vehicle and valid insurance. Where possible, an adult should not travel alone to or from games or training with young people to whom he/she is not related
  • Club members giving lifts to young players must not drive under the influence of alcohol or any medication or drug that would affect their competency behind the wheel
  • A suitably experienced and trained Club Welfare Officer is appointed at the AGM

4. Dealing with Concerns

OSMFC has appointed a Club Welfare Officer who is the first point of contact for all club members regarding concerns about the welfare of any young player. The current Club Welfare Officer is the Club Chairman, Tony Linnett (contact).

All OSMFC members are reminded that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and if a club member is worried about a young player it is important that concerns are reported – no action is not an option.

Club members who are worried about a young player are worried must report their concerns to the Club Welfare Officer. If the issue is one of poor practice the Club Welfare Officer will either:

  • deal with the matter themselves or
  • seek advice from the County FA Welfare Officer

OSMFC supports The FA’s Whistle Blowing Policy. Any adult or young person with concerns about an adult in a position of trust (including the Club Welfare Officer) can ‘whistle blow’ by contacting The FA Safeguarding Team on 0800 169 1863, emailing them or by writing to The FA Case Manager at The Football Association, Wembley Stadium, PO Box 1966, London SW1P 9EQ. If it is an emergency because a young player is at immediate risk then contact can be made direct to the Police, Children’s Social Care or the NSPCC. OSMFC encourages everyone to know about The FA’s Whistle Blowing Policy and to utilise it if necessary.

5. Policy Evaluation and Review

The implementation and effectiveness of OSMFC’s safeguarding Policy is under constant review by the club officers who meet formally throughout the year. Latest advice on safeguarding young players is considered and changes made to the policy where necessary. The policy is formally reviewed on an annual basis.

Updated: 22 January 2018