Safeguarding in Open-Age Football

Safeguarding Action Required by Open-Age Grassroots Clubs

Protecting 16/17-Year-Olds Playing in Open-Age Essex Football

We're sharing details about the requirements and best practice for safeguarding across grassroots affiliated football, encompassing 16/17-year-olds playing in open-age football.

Having undertaken an audit on the FA Whole Game System, some open-aged clubs have been highlighted as having 16/17-year-old players, who must be able to participate safely, and guidance and support are available to member clubs.

Everyone working with under 18s (i.e. coaching/managing), whether in youth or open-age adult football, is subject to The FA’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, underpinned by legislation. Where 16- and 17-year-olds are playing in the team, the coaching/management team require an FA DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Check.

If the club also has a youth section, their Club Welfare Officer may be able to assist with the DBS process. If this is not possible, however, the Essex County FA Safeguarding Team are also able to offer support.

“We recognise this was a recent change in practice for some clubs and we would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to share that we are here to support and assist clubs in this process,” explained Essex County FA Safeguarding Manager, Helen Hever. Listed below are areas which these clubs need to consider, with the intention to implement:

* DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks - coaches/managers and assistants, first aiders and Club Welfare Officer
* Adopting a Safeguarding Children Policy
* Appointing a Club Welfare Officer
* Sharing “Know Your Rights” with 16/17-year-old players

Information and guidance, including a template safeguarding children policy can be found here. For further support, please contact Helen Hever via or (01245) 393098. Useful details are also shared by @EssexCountyFA on Twitter, and on the ‘EssexFootball’ page on Facebook.

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