English football is set to unite again this weekend to promote Play Safe – a countrywide campaign to focus attention on the vital importance of safeguarding in our national game.
Led by The Football Association, the Play Safe campaign is endorsed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and will be supported this weekend across every level of English football, including the Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, and across the grassroots game.
This year’s Play Safe weekend focuses on the safeguarding role that everyone has to play – coach, player, parent/carer, spectator or volunteer – to keep children and young people safe, no matter what the football setting. Everyone, everywhere, every time is encouraged to watch, listen, talk and act if they have any safeguarding concerns.
This season, the Premier League will again fund the NSPCC’s Childline service across the Play Safe weekend, enabling young people up to 19-years-old to access free and confidential support either online or by calling 0800 1111 to speak to a trained counsellor.
The Premier League and the NSPCC have been working in partnership over the past three seasons to help provide children and young people involved in academy football or League-funded community programmes with positive football experiences.
This includes working together to develop an empowerment programme for children and young people, to help them understand how to recognise abuse and how to speak out or seek support.
Premier League captains will also wear Play Safe armbands over the weekend, helping to raise awareness of the role everyone can play when it comes to safeguarding.
'Safeguarding is a collective responsibility'
The FA’s Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG) continues to support Play Safe: “Creating safe environments in every football setting is a collective responsibility," says the group.
"It’s really important that every single person in football – no matter if they’re actively involved or on the sidelines – understands that they have an ongoing role to play. Knowing how to act on any concerns is vital and Play Safe is a key way to raise awareness so that everyone is vigilant and knows what to do if they become aware of any inappropriate behaviour.”
Play Safe aims to unite football at every level in England in order to create an ever-safer culture across the game.