UEFA and Terre des hommes striving for children’s rights in football
By playing football children learn valuable life lessons such as fair play, teamwork, and commitment. Nevertheless, if sports settings are unsafe, it also puts children at risk of neglect, physical, emotional and even sexual abuse. The Swiss child relief organisation Terre des hommes and UEFA launch a child safeguarding programme in order to ensure children are not harmed in football activities.
A four-year strong partnership
Terre des hommes and UEFA are working together to protect children in football. The objective is to raise awareness, educate and train individuals to ensure that adults participating in football activities with children and young people do not expose them to harm or abuse. The intense collaboration, including thorough consultation with national football associations in Europe, has led to the creation of new safeguarding tools.
Underlining UEFA's commitment, President Aleksander Čeferin says: "Fostering hope and solidarity means thinking about more than just ourselves. It means thinking of our society; of our children, our future generations and our planet. This is why, with the cooperation of our 55 member associations, and the help of Terre des hommes, an NGO specialising in this field, we have launched a child safeguarding programme designed to ensure children are never subjected to abuse of any kind in a football-related context."
Online training and toolkit for child safeguarding in football
The new dedicated platform aims to improve the knowledge, attitudes and practices of coaches, doctors, drivers and other staff members in contact with young footballers. Four innovative online courses are freely available on the platform. The toolkit for UEFA members includes guidance, policies, codes of conduct and other resources for putting child safeguarding into practice. Terre des hommes will further support UEFA and its associations to implement these tools.
The programme focuses on preventive actions. That means setting clear definition of child, safeguarding, harm or abuse, ensuring organisational preparedness through procedures, and raising awareness. It also focuses on responsive actions: reporting concerns, and monitoring progress. With this new approach, UEFA and Terre des hommes aim for a safe and positive football environment for all children.
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Photo credit: ©Tdh/Jean Luc Marchina