Led by The Football Association, the Play Safe campaign is endorsed by the 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 season we are asking EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE – clubs and leagues at every level of the game, (and individuals if they wish) – to tell us what they are planning to do to make a difference over the Play Safe weekend and to share this via an online Play Safe Pledge.
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. 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.”
This year’s Play Safe weekend focuses on the safeguarding role 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, EVERYTIME is encouraged to WATCH, LISTEN, TALK and ACT if they have any safeguarding concerns.
These messages are reflected in the visuals on this page, which are examples of the various digital and print resources being distributed to every County FA, league and club in England. Captain’s armbands will be worn at various levels of the game over the weekend. Head coaches/managers are also being asked to wear Play Safe pin badges to show their support.
It’s all part of football in England uniting to create an ever-safer culture across the game at every level.
FA Chief Executive, Mark Bullingham, said: “We want everyone involved in football – particularly children and young people – to have a safe, positive and enjoyable experience. English football will come together this weekend with leagues and clubs across the country participating in our Play Safe Weekend, taking our Play Safe Pledge to help build awareness and understanding about the importance of safeguarding. We encourage everyone in the game to take part.”
NSPCC Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, says: “Everyone has a role to play in preventing abuse and we’re pleased that the FA is again putting a spotlight on safeguarding awareness in football through the Play Safe weekend, which runs ahead of Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week 2-6 October. It’s great to see Play Safe is supported by every level of the game.”
The FA’s Head of Safeguarding, Sue Ravenlaw, said: “The Play Safe campaign has been instrumental in helping us raise awareness for safeguarding across English football. It was very well supported last year, with over one million people reached through some truly innovative activations by many leagues and clubs. Together, with all the football family and the NSPCC, we want to build on that success, and we are encouraging anyone in football to take our Play Safe Pledge to support the campaign.
“Another of our key targets is for 100,000 people to take part in our free online Safeguarding Awareness Course for Parents and Carers by the end of 2024. The feedback that we’ve received from parents and carers is that the course is excellent, so we hope everyone will take the short time it takes to complete it.”
Ian Critchley, National Police Chiefs’ Council – Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation said: “The fight against child sexual abuse will never stop, and the Play Safe campaign highlights the focus and priority that society must place on tackling these awful crimes. Policing is working hard to target offenders and safeguard children, but we need everyone to play their part in having conversations with young people, as well as identifying early and reporting those who pose a risk to children.
“We know only too well from courageous victim testimonies of the lifelong harm abuse has on a child, and there is a collective responsibility to prevent it and root out those who commit these appalling acts of abuse . Education is one area that is fundamental to ensuring the safety of young people, and it is really encouraging to see that Play Safe is embraced by so many across the footballing community. This valuable work is fully supported by all of us in policing.”