Millions of children around the world are involved in football, almost all of whom follow a favourite team. Many children play in organised matches or kick-abouts and some also take an early interest in coaching and refereeing.
However they may be involved in the game, what these children all have in common is the right to enjoy football in a safe environment and a culture of respect and understanding.
With this firmly in mind, today FIFA launched a new dedicated programme and toolkit – FIFA Guardians™ – designed to enhance child safeguarding standards within football.
Developed by FIFA together with its Child Safeguarding Expert Working Group, this new initiative aims at providing practical guidance to support the 211 FIFA member associations (MAs) in reviewing their existing safeguarding measures, to help prevent any risk of harm to children in football, and to appropriately respond if concerns arise.
Containing practical guidance and support materials, the new online toolkit is based on “five principles and five steps” that are underpinned by recognised international standards and best practice in child safeguarding across sports. The FIFA Guardians toolkit is also based on the premise that keeping children safe from harm is “Up to all of Us”, no matter the country we are from or the role we hold in football.
The FIFA Guardians programme will be rolled out in the coming months through a series of training modules and workshops to promote global awareness and its implementation in all FIFA MAs and by working together with the confederations.
In launching the new programme today, FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, said: “FIFA’s vision is to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all. In realising this vision, we aim to ensure that involvement in football, in any form, is a positive experience for all children.
“Furthermore, as the world governing body of football, FIFA has a duty and responsibility to ensure that those who play football can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment.
“Today’s launch is a landmark step for FIFA and the world of football in general, and I am confident that the FIFA Guardians programme will help to mobilise action and guide our 211 member associations around the world in reviewing and implementing their own safeguarding measures to keep children safe in football. FIFA believes this to be every child’s right.”
Joyce Cook, FIFA Chief Member Associations Officer, added: “While some member associations have well-developed policies and procedures in place, it is clear that many others are just starting out on their safeguarding journey.
“FIFA’s new child safeguarding toolkit builds on the confidential reporting structures and safeguarding frameworks FIFA already has in place, and provides clear and practical guidance for our member associations and their stakeholders.
“We will be rolling out the FIFA Guardians programme over the coming months, starting with a series of workshops and training modules to help address the needs of our members, as well as assisting them in developing partnerships with expert agencies and statutory authorities on the ground.
“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of FIFA’s Child Safeguarding Expert Working Group, who are leading experts in this field, for their support and expertise in developing the new toolkit.
“We are delighted that they have also agreed to advise us in the further development of the FIFA Guardians programme, so that we can ensure the continued delivery of the most current and best possible guidance, to address the needs of our members in safeguarding children across the game.”
To read more about the FIFA Guardians™ programme and FIFA’s child safeguarding toolkit, please click below.
FIFA Guardians ™ / Child Safeguarding Programme information and toolkit download: