Cheshire FA is lending its full support to Play Safe – a national FA-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football.
Play Safe is being run in partnership with the NSPCC and has the full backing of the Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship. It’s also supported by every County FA and is being run across all grassroots leagues and clubs.
The main element of Play Safe is a series of short films which emphasise the importance of having safeguarding embedded in all we do. The films also explain to parents/carers and children themselves know what to do if they feel unsafe or worried, because nothing matters more than making sure football is safe for everyone, especially children and young people. You can see these films below.
Senior Safeguarding Lead and CEO, Steve Smithies highlighted: “All members of the grassroots football community have an integral role to play when it comes to Safeguarding. Whether you are a coach, volunteer, league official, referee, parent, carer or spectator – you have a role to play. The FA’s Play Safe campaign is here to showcase the importance of safeguarding within the game we love. Here at Cheshire FA, we are proud to have such a committed and dedicated volunteer workforce that strive to ensure Cheshire is a safe place for ALL participants of grassroots football.”
Designated Safeguarding Officer, Nadine Crane noted: “The FA’s brand-new Safeguarding Weekend is an integral part of our mission to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding across the whole of grassroots football. Here at Cheshire FA, members of our staff team will be out and about across this weekend conducting Safeguarding visits to clubs around the County to continue spreading the word on how vital Safeguarding is, and how it allows children to #PlaySafe.
It is also incredibly important that club officials, parents/carers and spectators understand the importance of safeguarding our Referees. We have hundreds of under 18 referees who give up their time each weekend and any abuse directed at them must stop. We thank our leagues for their continued hard work in bringing this to an end.”
FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham added: “As a youth team coach, I will be working with my club to ensure we support the Play Safe messaging. I am also pleased that the campaign has the support of the former footballers with lived experience of abuse in football, who are on our Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group. The Group has collectively said:
'Learning from the past is crucial, so that we can prevent the horrific experiences that happened to us and so many others in football, from happening again.
As a group of survivors, we fully support the ethos and important messages that Play Safe conveys – whether to club officials, parents/carers and or vitally, children and young people themselves. Equally important is that Play Safe is not a one-off campaign – it will be used at key points in the football calendar to remind everyone in football, that children’s welfare and keeping them safe, should be at the heart of all that we do.'
"As the Survivor Group points out, you’ll see Play Safe appearing at various points throughout the season to keep safeguarding front of mind in football. Together, we want to do everything we can so everyone – particularly children and young people – has a consistently positive experience of our great game."
You can read more about Play Safe on The FA’s website here