Player Protection Policy

The provision of football for both players and officials should be free from abuse regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

It is also incumbent on the Association to provide a fun and safe environment for all participating players and officials.  Safety must be provided from neglect, verbal and physical abuse, sexual and emotional abuse and bullying. By the implementation of good practice and this policy, we hope to provide a safe, caring environment for both players and officials to flourish.

The SYFA is fully committed to and recognises the importance of the volunteer sector without whom it would be impossible for football to function at grassroots level in Scotland.

Part V of the Police Act 1997 is aimed at helping employers and voluntary organisations assess the suitability of applicants for particular posts and to make safer recruitment decisions in relation to positions of trust by widening access to criminal record information.  To this end, the Act provides for the issue of criminal conviction certificates, criminal record certificates, and enhanced criminal record certificates.  In Scotland, Disclosure Scotland will issue these certificates. In practice, the certificates will be known as Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosures.

The Act also provides for a Code of Practice to be published by Ministers governing the use of all information issued in respect of Standard and Enhanced Disclosures.  The Code requires all recipients of such Disclosure information to comply with the Code and to use that information properly and fairly. Where conviction or other information is revealed as part of the Disclosure process, that information must not be used to unfairly discriminate against individuals when considering them for positions.

Employers and others who make use of the Disclosure scheme are expected to have a written policy on the recruitment of such individuals.  The Policy may be given to applicants for positions where a Disclosure is requested, and to ensure that any body or individual, at whose request applications for Standard and Enhanced Disclosures are countersigned, has such a written policy.

The Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003 aims to improve safeguards for children by preventing unsuitable people from working with them.

The Act provides for Scottish Ministers to keep the Disqualified from Working with Children List.

The Scottish Youth FA has a legal duty to make a referral to Scottish Ministers if an individual working with players harms a child or puts a child at risk of harm AND is dismissed or moved away from access to children as a consequence.  In addition, a person working with players who harms a child or puts a child at risk of harm AND would have been dismissed if they had not resigned, retired, been made redundant or left at the end of a temporary contract, must also be referred to Scottish Ministers.  The Scottish Youth FA will have committed an offence if it fails to make referrals to the list where the criterion for making referrals has been met.  The List will include those convicted of an offence against a child, when the court considers them to be unsuitable to work with children.

Those who have been fully listed by the Scottish Ministers will commit a criminal offence if they apply to or work with children.  It will be an offence for an organisation to knowingly employ a person to work with children if that person has been fully listed by the Scottish Ministers.  The fact that someone is on the List, either fully listed or provisionally listed, will be released as part of a Disclosure Application available from Disclosure Scotland.

The List helps to strengthen the safeguards already in place to protect children.

1. Policy Statement

The Scottish Youth Football Association plus its standing committees, regions, member leagues/associations, member clubs and officials are fully committed to providing every player and official with a safe environment in which they may enjoy participating in grassroots football.

2. Policy Principles

Within the SYFA the key principles of this policy are as follows:

All players have:

The right to a safe environment  The right to protection against harm or the risk of harm  The right to protection against physical abuse  The right to protection against verbal abuse  The right to protection against emotional abuse  The right to protection against sexual abuse  The right to protection against bullying  The right to protection against neglect  The right to express opinions and to have those opinions considered in all matters that concern their well being  The right that all actions concerning the child should be in his/her best interests

The right to have all suspicions and allegations taken seriously and actioned as appropriate

3. The SYFA shall:

Support all member leagues/associations or clubs with the implementation of this policy.

Ensure that the policy is reviewed on a regular basis.

Appoint Player Protection Officers

Appoint a Player Protection Panel

Assist member leagues, associations and clubs to appoint Player Protection Officers.

Refer any individual working with children, whether paid or unpaid, to the list when they have harmed a child or put a child at risk of harm and have been dismissed or moved away from contact with children as a consequence.

4. Good Practice / Code of Conduct

By the introduction of good practice throughout the SYFA it is possible to reduce the risk of child abuse taking place.

4.1. Good Practice / Code of Conduct for Normal Activities

BEHAVIOUR THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE GOOD PRACTICE

Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  Always act in the best interests of all players and club officials. In emergency situations take note of all risks before making decisions.  Always treat all players and officials with respect and dignity irrespective of their age, race, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, disability or social background.  Always make sure that any allegations or suspicions are recorded and acted upon  Always report all incidents of abuse or concerns to the relevant protection officer and submit a written record of said incidents or concerns  Always strive to have a minimum of two club officials in attendance during all club activities  Always have a trained first aider/physiotherapist with a fully stocked first aid kit on hand during all club activities  Always wait until all players have left the changing room before officials shower and change.  Always be punctual for all football activities  Always take notice of player’s reactions to your tone of voice and manner. If giving criticism do so in a positive and constructive manner.  Always be open and honest with players and parents.  Always encourage full participation in all activities whilst at the same time acknowledging the limitations that may prevent this because of a player’s special needs.

BEHAVIOUR THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED

Avoid spending too much unnecessary time alone with a player  Avoid using or allowing players to use inappropriate language or behaviour  Avoid sexually suggestive comments being made by players or officials even as a joke

Avoid players and officials engaging in rough, physical or sexually provocative games including horseplay  Avoid doing things of a personal nature for a player that a player can do for themselves such as going to the toilet or changing clothes.  If assisting a player in the toilet, the official must never enter the toilet cubical. Seek the consent of parents and players where physical assistance is absolutely necessary.  Avoid being present whilst players are showering and changing unless it is necessary in the interests of health and safety or the players are particularly young or vulnerable.  In these circumstances it would be best practice to have at least two officials present and, if appropriate, to leave the door open.  Officials must always wait until all players have left the changing room before showering and changing.  Avoid meeting with players away from organised club activities without a parent or other club official being involved  Avoid making arrangements to meet a player in their home without the player’s parent or guardian being present  Avoid a player travelling alone with a club official irrespective of the length or duration of the journey.  If possible make sure your pick up or drop off points are with at least two players.  If a single player has to be transported the club should seek the consent of the players parent or guardian. If under exceptional circumstances a single player has to be transported, make sure the official involved advises another club official or reports the incident to the clubs Player Protection Officer  Avoid players being unsupervised during club activities  Avoid officials taking any club activities on his/her own  Avoid Officials placing themselves in vulnerable situations

BEHAVIOR THAT WILL NEVER BE SANCTIONED

Harming a player or putting a player at risk of harm  Sexually abusing a player  Physically assaulting a player or official  Supplying banned substances to players or officials  Extortion and bullying  Harassment and intimidation e.g. racial harassment.  Allowing players or officials to refer to another club member’s religion, gender, disability or sexuality in a derogatory manner  Allow officials to shower or change with players.  Always wait until all players have left the changing room   Allow players to touch officials or other players in an intrusive or sexual manner.  Any such incidents must be reported to another club official and the player involved informed that this behaviour is unacceptable  Allow allegations made by a player to go unreported.  If there is an attempt to cover up you may be implicated by your silence.

Allow players or officials to be under the influence of alcohol or any banned substances during football activities.

4.2. Good Practice / Code of Conduct for Club Outings

BEHAVIOUR THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE GOOD PRACTICE

Implement all points listed at 4.1  Make sure all outings are planned with health and safety of uppermost importance  Inform all parents timeously in writing of the times of departure, pick up points, time of return, drop off points and emergency telephone contact numbers  Make sure all players and parents timeously complete and return a consent form  Make sure all outings are properly supervised e.g. a ratio of one official to six players with a minimum of three officials in attendance  Make sure all outings are properly supervised e.g. if the group consists of male and female players they must be accompanied by both male and female officials

4.3. Good Practice /Code of Conduct for Overnight Stays

BEHAVIOUR THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE GOOD PRACTICE

Implement all points listed at 4.1 and 4.2  Make sure all overnight stays are planned with health and safety of uppermost importance  Inform all parents timeously in writing of the date and time of departure, pick up points, date and time of return, drop off points and emergency contact details  Make sure all players and parents timeously complete and return a consent form  Make sure all overnight stays are properly supervised e.g. a ratio of one official to six players with a minimum of three officials in attendance  Make all players aware of the availability of telephones to contact home

BEHAVIOUR THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED

Players visiting any adult’s room unless under emergency circumstances, in such circumstances the room door should be left open if it is appropriate to do so.

Allowing officials to check players’ rooms unaccompanied.

A minimum of 2 officials are required.

Allowing officials to enter a player’s room unless in the interests of health and safety or in an emergency, in such circumstances the room door should be left open if it is appropriate to do so.

BEHAVIOR THAT WILL NEVER BE SANCTIONED

An official sharing a room with a child unless he is the parent or guardian of the child.  Allowing officials to supervise or have any responsibility for players while under the influence of alcohol or any banned substances

5. Responsibilities

To ensure the safety of all players, all concerned must function as a unit with defined roles

5.1. The role of the player’s parent / guardian is as follows:  All parents / guardians must take all measures necessary to protect their children from harm or the risk of harm  All parents / guardians must take all measures necessary to ensure that they are satisfied with the club and the club’s officials that their child proposes to join.  All parents / guardians must sign the relevant SYFA / SFA registration form.  All parents / guardians must make arrangements to ensure that their children are safely transported to and from all club activities.  This is the parents’ responsibility.  All parents / guardians must know who the club protection officer is and their contact details.  Only parents / guardians who are officials of a club and have regular and/or unsupervised contact with the clubs’ players will be Disclosure Scotland checked

5.2. The role of the club official is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  All officials e.g. managers, coaches, first aiders, physiotherapists, that have regular and/or unsupervised contact with children must complete a Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Form, submit it to the relevant SYFA Protection Officer or additional league signatory who will on approval send it directly to the National Secretary.  All Disclosure Scotland – Disclosure Application Forms must be accompanied by a fully completed SYFA Self-Disclosure Form.  The Player Protection Panel may instruct officials, at any time, to submit or resubmit a fully completed SYFA Self-Disclosure Form.  A form is included within the Appendix at the end of this policy or can be downloaded from the SYFA website.  All SYFA Self-Disclosure Forms must be sent to the SYFA Protection Officer at Hampden Park within an envelope clearly marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.  Those on the List (other than provisionally) will commit a criminal offence if they apply to or work with children.  The SYFA Player Protection Panel will be the ONLY committee to view and/or use this SYFA Self- Disclosure Form.  All officials who do not submit a fully completed SYFA Self-Disclosure Form will be debarred from membership.  All officials who submit a SYFA Self-Disclosure Form and provide false information and/or omit information will be debarred from membership.

An official in membership of the association who is charged with any criminal offence by the Procurator Fiscal must immediately report this charge to their club secretary and the National Secretary in writing.  Any official who does not report a charge will have their membership of the association immediately terminated.  All appointments, changes or resignation of club officials must be immediately notified to the National Secretary in writing.   All officials must be fully conversant with any club Protection Policies and the SYFA Protection Policies.  All officials must be fully conversant with their club’s Constitution and Rules and the SYFA Constitution and Rules.  All officials must protect all players from all forms of abuse.  All officials have a duty to report any allegations or concerns about other adults / officials.  All officials must display high standards in respect of behaviour and appearance.  They should project an image of health, cleanliness and efficiency in respect of the function for which they have responsibility.  All officials must observe the SYFA registration procedures in respect of age group and maturity of their players.  All officials must promote the FIFA initiative on fair play.  All officials should attempt to have coaching qualifications appropriate to the ability of players they are coaching subject to the Constitution of the SYFA.

Note:  All persons involved in grassroots football have responsibilities to report any suspected or alleged cases of abuse to the relevant Protection Officer. It is not the official’s responsibility to decide whether or not a player has been abused.

5.3. The role of the club is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  All clubs on seeking membership of the SYFA must complete the official membership application form signing the declaration to enable all club officials to be Disclosure Scotland checked.  The names, addresses and dates of birth of all club officials shall be submitted by the club when seeking membership and upon annual renewal.  All club officials will be subject to Disclosure Scotland checking procedures and must adhere to the terms of the Scottish Youth FA Player Protection Policy.  Any official who does not agree to be Disclosure Scotland checked or is deemed unsuitable by the SYFA Player Protection Panel will not be eligible for membership of the club or the SYFA.  All appointments, changes or resignation of club officials must be immediately notified to the National Secretary in writing.   A club official in membership of the association who is charged with any criminal offence by the Procurator Fiscal must immediately report this charge to their club secretary and the National Secretary in writing.  A club official who does not report a charge will have their membership of the association immediately terminated.

All clubs MUST appoint a Player Protection Officer for protection issues.  All club members, players and player’s parents to be advised of the official responsible for Protection within the club plus his/her contact details.  All clubs must include or refer to the SYFA Player Protection Policy within their Constitution.  All clubs must ensure that they carry out relevant checks on ALL club officials before they are offered membership of the club e.g. identification – they are who they say they are  All clubs must ensure ALL club officials complete a Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Form plus a SYFA Self-Declaration Form, submit them to the relevant SYFA Protection Officer who will on approval send them directly to the National Secretary complete with any Disclosure Application fee.  All clubs must request Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Forms plus SYFA Self- Declaration Forms for ALL officials.  Forms can be obtained from the local SYFA Protection Officer or the National Secretary.  All clubs must make sure all of its officials are fully conversant with their club’s Protection Policies and the SYFA Player Protection Policy.  All clubs must make sure all of its officials are fully conversant with their club’s Constitution and Rules and the SYFA Constitution and Rules.  All clubs must protect all players and officials from all forms of abuse.  All clubs must accept that all officials must report concerns in respect of any suspected abuse.  All clubs must be committed to eradicating bad practice.  All clubs must implement all proposals or amendments in respect of player protection policies.  In cases of reported abuse, maintain total confidentiality. Information must only be shared on a need to know basis i.e. with people who need to know to ensure the child’s health, welfare and development.

Note:  All persons involved in grassroots football have responsibilities to report any suspected or alleged cases of abuse to the relevant Protection Officer. It is not the official’s responsibility to decide whether or not a player has been abused.

5.4. The role of the SYFA League or Association is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  All leagues / associations on seeking membership of the SYFA must complete the official membership application form signing the declaration to enable all league / association officials to be Disclosure Scotland checked. The names, addresses and dates of birth of all league / association officials shall be submitted by the league / association when seeking membership and upon annual renewal. All league / association officials will be subject to Disclosure Scotland checking procedures and must adhere to the terms of the Scottish Youth FA Player Protection Policy. Any official who does not agree to be Disclosure Scotland checked or is deemed unsuitable by the SYFA Player Protection Panel will not be eligible for membership of the league / association or the SYFA.

All appointments, changes or resignation of league / association officials must be immediately notified to the National Secretary in writing.   A league / association official in membership of the association who is charged with any criminal offence by the Procurator Fiscal must immediately report this charge to their league / association secretary and the National Secretary in writing. A league / association official who does not report a charge will have their membership of the association immediately terminated.  All leagues / associations must ensure ALL officials complete a Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Form plus a SYFA Self-Declaration Form, submit them to the relevant SYFA Protection Officer who will on approval send them directly to the National Secretary complete with any Disclosure Application fee.  To review and approve all Club Membership Application Forms and advise the National Secretary in writing of any officials who the League considers should be Disclosure Scotland checked as a matter of urgency.  To report any alleged incidents of abuse to the National Secretary or in his absence the National Protection Officer at Hampden Park.  In the absence of the National Secretary or the National Protection Officer, to report any alleged incidents of abuse to the Police.  The League / Association must appoint a minimum of one Player Protection Officer.  In cases of reported abuse, maintain total confidentiality. Information must only be shared on a need to know basis i.e. with people who need to know to ensure the child’s health, welfare and development.  All Leagues / Associations must request Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Forms plus SYFA Self-Declaration Forms on behalf of their member clubs. Forms can be obtained from the local SYFA Protection Officer or the National Secretary.

Note:  All persons involved in grassroots football have responsibilities to report any suspected or alleged cases of abuse to the relevant Protection Officer. It is not the official’s responsibility to decide whether or not a player has been abused.

5.5. The role of the Player Protection Officer is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  They must ensure all Club Officials or any person acting on behalf of member clubs are named on the SYFA Club Membership Application Form.  Refer to your League Secretary for SYFA Club Membership Application Forms.  They must ensure all League / Association Officials or any person acting on behalf of a member league or association are named on the SYFA League / Association Membership Application Form.  Refer to your League Secretary for SYFA League Membership Application Forms.  All appointments, changes or resignation of Player Protection Officer must be immediately notified to the National Secretary in writing.   A Player Protection Officer in membership of the association who is charged with any criminal offence by the Procurator Fiscal must immediately report this charge to their club, league or association secretary and the National Secretary in writing. A Player Protection Officer who does not report a charge will have their membership of the association immediately terminated.  They must ensure all completed information that has to be retained is sent directly to the National Secretary to be stored in a completely safe and confidential manner. It is a criminal offence to disclose any information to any third party. The only exception is the reporting of abuse to either the National Secretary or the police.  They must check that all forms are completed properly; they must witness identification documentation and send all fully completed Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Forms plus SYFA Self-Declaration Forms to the SYFA Protection Officer at Hampden Park. They must make sure any officials highlighted as top priority by either their club, league or associations are prioritised for Disclosure Scotland checking.  All Player Protection Officers must request Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Forms plus SYFA Self-Declaration Forms on behalf of their members. Forms can be obtained from the local SYFA Protection Officer or the National Secretary.  To receive and advise on reported incidents by a club, player or official.  To initiate action ensuring all appropriate persons have been contacted.  To report any alleged incidents of abuse to the National Secretary or in his absence the National Protection Officer at Hampden Park.

Note:  All persons involved in grassroots football have responsibilities to report any suspected or alleged cases of abuse to the relevant Protection Officer.  It is not the official’s responsibility to decide whether or not a player has been abused.

5.6. The role of the SYFA and its standing committees is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  To ensure ALL Regional officials and members of ALL Standing Committees complete and submit directly to the National Secretary a fully completed Disclosure Scotland Disclosure Application Form plus SYFA Self-Declaration Form complete with Disclosure Application fee.   To make a Player Protection Policy available to all member clubs, club officials, leagues, associations and regional committees.  Provide support and guidance as and when required.  To make sure ALL officials are Disclosure Scotland checked.  To make sure any officials highlighted as top priority by either their club, league or association are prioritised for Disclosure Scotland checking.  In cases of reported abuse, maintain total confidentiality. Information must only be shared on a need to know basis i.e. with people who need to know to ensure the child’s health, welfare and development.  To report any alleged incidents of abuse to the National Secretary or in his absence the National Protection Officer at Hampden Park.  To keep records, in a totally safe and secure environment, of all officials about whom allegations are / have been made.  To maintain a list, in a totally safe and secure environment, of all

To hold an annual review of this policy although it may be reviewed as circumstances dictate.

Note:  All persons involved in grassroots football have responsibilities to report any suspected or alleged cases of abuse to the relevant Protection Officer.  It is not the official’s responsibility to decide whether or not a player has been abused.

5.7. The role of the SYFA Executive is as follows:  To refer officials to the Scottish Ministers in order that they be added to the Disqualified from Working with Children List  The Scottish Youth FA will have a duty to make a referral to Scottish Ministers if an individual working with players harms a child or puts a child at risk of harm AND is dismissed or moved away from access to children as a consequence.  In addition, a person working with players who harms a child or puts a child at risk of harm AND would have been dismissed if they had not resigned, retired, been made redundant or left at the end of a temporary contract, must also be referred to Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Youth FA will have committed an offence for failing to make referrals. The List will include those convicted of an offence against a child, when the court considers them to be unsuitable to work with children.

5.8. The role of the SYFA Player Protection Panels is as follows:  Take all reasonable steps, where possible, to protect all players and officials from harm or the risk of harm during all activities  To make decisions on membership of the SYFA for officials and clubs.  To keep records, in a totally safe and secure environment, of all officials about whom allegations are / have been made.  To maintain a register, in a totally safe and secure environment, of all expelled persons.  To inform all relevant parties of any decisions taken by the Player Protection Panel in respect of membership. All decisions of the Player Protection Panel shall be final and binding on all parties concerned.

Useful Contacts

National Secretary

Florence Witherow
e-mail: florence.witherow@scottish-football.com 

National Protection

Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer
Fiona Stewart 0141 620 4594
e-mail: syfaprotection@scottish-football.com

Assistant Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer
Fiona Dainty 0141 620 4597
e-mail: fiona.dainty@scottish-football.com

Scottish Youth Football Association Hampden Park Glasgow G42 9BF

Tel: 0141 620 4590 Fax: 0141 620 4591 e-mail: syfa@scottish-football.com Confidential e-mail: nationalsecretary@scottish-football.com

Childline Scotland 0800 1111 (free)

Childline Freepost 1111 London N1 QBR

Children 1st   0141 418 5670 www.children1st.org.uk

Kidscape   0171 730 3300

National Drug Helpline 0800 77 66 00

Parentline   01702 559 900

Parentline Scotland  0808 800 2222

Scotland against Drugs 0141 331 6150

The Samaritans  0345 909 090 or ask the operator to connect dial 100

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