It may sound like a cliche, but children are football's future. It is essential that we look after them and their interests to the best of our ability. Our Safeguarding Children Workshop goes from strength to strength, and our Safeguarding Children package has been enhanced through the processing of FA Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks to ensure safe recruitment across football.

The support of County FAs and the Football Development team has helped create a change of culture in football at grassroots level, with safeguarding children on the agenda at clubs up and down the country. The FA is now further developing the support we provide for clubs and counties, as football should be played in an environment free from abuse and discrimination of any kind, but we are also aware of the demands on the huge volunteer workforce in our game.

We are encouraging all clubs to appoint a Club Welfare Officer and to ensure that they sit on their committee. Since the start of the 2008/09 season all youth clubs must have a Club Welfare Officer before they can affiliate and participate in football. 

Club Welfare Officers will take the lead in clubs when it comes to safeguarding children. Start by looking to see what current practices are all ready in place that safeguard young people – this will be much more than most clubs realise, there is a lot of good practice already going on.

Alongside this will be a clear calendar for FA CRB checks; Charter Standard Clubs and County FAs have already shown the way here, and referees are currently completing the process.

There is a wealth of experience among the County FA Child Protection Officers who play a key role in The FA’s referral and case management process. Training and continued professional development are in place to ensure standards remain high.

Safeguarding children is a continuing priority. It’s the responsibility of everyone at all levels of the game to act in the best interests of children. The FA’s Safeguarding Children – Best Practice workshop continues to be rolled out for all coaches, medics and referees in football, and can be accessed via Westmorland County FA. And with 150,000 people having completed the workshop, there are 150,000 more guardians in the game fully-briefed on how to deliver football to children in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Sir Roger Singleton has now formally reviewed the requirement to register under the new vetting and barring scheme and has suggested some changes.

The FA continues to stress that until such time as the details of the scheme are explicit the most important thing football can do is to follow its three part strategy:

• Getting the right people involved - carrying out references and CRB checks

• Creating a safe environment - Respect codes of conduct, education and best practice

• Promoting clear systems - to deal with any concerns, appropriate policy and procedures.

Football Clubs are strongly advised to ensure that anyone working or volunteering with children in football as a coach, referee, welfare officer, manager or hands on first aider has an FA CRB and that the online Safeguarding Service shows to the club that their CRB is 'accepted'. Please be assured The FA continues to work closely to identify the requirements of the scheme on football, to anticipate the impact of the scheme and to manage the process through to readiness. NB The scheme becomes mandatory for certain cohorts in November 2010.'

For more information please click on the related links and documents in the footer of this page.

For advice about completing your FA CRB check, either contact

Sally O'Donnell, Designated Safeguarding Office on 07377546281  Sally.O'

Peter Ducksbury, Senior Safeguarding Lead on 01539 730946  Peter.Ducksbury@WestmorlandFA.Com

Remember safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility – make sure you are playing your part.

Further information is available from:

FA CRB Unit 0800 085 0506 / CRB@TheFA.Com

The FA/NSPCC 0800 800 5000