Foot­ball chiefs en­list chil­dren’s char­ity in wake of abuse scan­dals

Part­ner­ship pledge to pro­tect young­sters

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Han­nah Rodger HRODGER@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

Achil­dren’s char­ity is to join forces with Scot­tish foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body in the wake of a raft of abuse al­le­ga­tions, we can re­veal. The chief ex­ec­u­tive of child pro­tec­tion char­ity Chil­dren 1st, Mary Glas­gow, has promised to help the Scot­tish Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion bet­ter pro­tect young play­ers. And she vowed to en­sure the SFA im­ple­ments all 96 rec­om­men­da­tions made in an in­de­pen­dent re­port on child abuse in foot­ball which was pub­lished ear­lier this year. The re­port was com­mis­sioned by the SFA fol­low­ing the emer­gence in 2016 of al­le­ga­tions of abuse against a se­ries of youth coaches, go­ing back over more than three decades. De­spite the full re­port not be­ing re­leased due to on­go­ing le­gal cases, The Sun­day Post un­der­stands it con­tains har­row­ing tes­ti­mony from vic­tims of abuse, and in­for­ma­tion about their abusers. Ms Glas­gow said: “This is a bril­liant part­ner­ship, and a great op­por­tu­nity for us. I be­lieve it was re­ally good thing that the Scot­tish Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion com­mis­sioned the re­port, but they need to fully im­ple­ment all the rec­om­men­da­tions and they need to do it at a pace. “The rea­son why we are ex­cited about the part­ner­ship is that we can raise aware­ness of what hap­pens to chil­dren when they are not safe. “We can also get along­side the SFA and work with them and ask them: ‘Where are you at with th­ese stan­dards? Where are you at with the rec­om­men­da­tions in that re­port? Can we help you? Can we chal­lenge you? Can we hold you to ac­count?’ “We have had a very good con­ver­sa­tion, where I’ve made clear that just be­cause we are in part­ner­ship doesn’t mean we are not in­de­pen­dent. They un­der­stand that.” The part­ner­ship with the SFA could see the char­ity train­ing and mon­i­tor­ing foot­ball staff. Chil­dren 1st will also work with peo­ple at all lev­els in foot­ball to help pre­vent ne­glect, abuse, vi­o­lence and poverty. They will also work with chil­dren, par­ents and the gov­ern­ing body to raise aware­ness of their work and the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing chil­dren. Ms Glas­gow said: “What we are pas­sion­ate about is help­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions like the SFA and other sports gov­ern­ing bod­ies to make sure chil­dren can safely par­tic­i­pate in sport across the board, and that the adults who are around them are safe, that they treat chil­dren with re­spect. That means they do not ex­ploit them or abuse them.” Ms Glas­gow said the new part­ner­ship would give the char­ity the chance to en­gage with chil­dren and par­ents too, to help them un­der­stand their rights and the ques­tions they should be ask­ing when they get in­volved in sport. She added that foot­ball in par­tic­u­lar, given its promi­nence in Scot­tish so­ci­ety, can be a “an in­cred­i­ble force for good” for chil­dren. She said: “Foot­ball is a mi­cro­cosm of so­ci­ety. It draws in peo­ple from ev­ery­where. “For kids who live in fam­i­lies af­fected by is­sues like poverty and do­mes­tic abuse, in­volv­ing them in sport and foot­ball can be the thing that re­ally helps build their con­fi­dence and re­silience and pro­vide a safe haven. Sport and foot­ball can be an in­cred­i­ble force for good.” Scot­tish FA Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ian Maxwell said: “Within Scot­tish foot­ball I have been a player, a coach and now a chief ex­ec­u­tive but, first and fore­most, I am a fa­ther. “Chil­dren 1st’s work in en­sur­ing some of Scot­land’s most vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple en­joy the best start pos­si­ble is to be ap­plauded and we are de­lighted to en­ter into part­ner­ship with them.” The part­ner­ship will see Chil­dren 1st ad­ver­tis­ing its Par­ent­line – a con­fi­den­tial sup­port line for anyone con­cerned about a child – and its Safe­guard­ing in Sport train­ing pro­gramme, at matches, on pro­grammes and on other SFA lit­er­a­ture. It will also pro­vide train­ing and mon­i­tor­ing for the SFA.

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