It was confirmed after today’s FA Board meeting that 99% of FA grassroots affiliated youth clubs, covering 62,238 teams, have renewed their Safeguarding Commitment.
This measure, and the positive response rate, is part of a continuing process through the remainder of this season, so that grassroots clubs are delivering on their responsibilities and ensuring the game is played in a safe and fun environment.
Clubs still not compliant to date have been temporarily suspended from all forms of football, including playing and training, and are now working with County FAs to do this as quickly as possible. It is important to stress that failing to complete the Commitment does not necessarily mean clubs and teams are not compliant with safeguarding standards, just that they have failed to meet the confirmation deadline.
FA Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: “The current response by English football at all levels has been commendable. However, the challenge now is to reach out to those clubs that still need our assistance so that our safeguarding standards remain robust.”
In addition, the Premier League has contacted its clubs – at Shareholder, Head of Academy, and Head of Community level – to confirm that everyone involved in the development of young people in their role is aware of the different organisations, both within and outside of football, they can contact should they have any safeguarding concerns. The Premier League has also written to the parents of all its clubs’ Academy players to highlight the high standard of safeguarding provisions currently in place at clubs.
Separately, the English Football League has contacted each of its 72 member clubs, all of whom have renewed their commitment to safeguarding, including safe recruitment practices and ongoing training for staff at all levels.
Following on from his meeting with Andy Woodward last month, the Chairman met with survivors and victims, Ian Ackley, Derek Bell, Paul Stewart and David White this week.
“I was humbled to hear their stories and their thoughts and views on safeguarding children in football, both past and present,” he said.
“We will continue to listen to victims and survivors throughout this process and look forward to maintaining this constructive dialogue.”
On 6 December, The FA confirmed it had appointed Clive Sheldon QC to oversee an independent review into issues arising from the recent press reports relating to allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse in football.
The FA is committed to full disclosure of the review’s findings, subject to any legal restrictions, and the Terms of Reference remain open to amendment should it be deemed necessary by external counsel or The FA. A separate update on this work will be issued on behalf of Clive Sheldon QC via the appointed secretariat, Sport Resolutions.