At Berks and Bucks FA we take the safeguarding of children very seriously. We have a fantastic network of volunteer Club and League Welfare Officers working incredibly hard to do everything they can to make sure football in our area is safe and fun for the children involved.
At the County FA we try to do everything we can to support, promote, and reinforce the work done, and messages delivered by that team of welfare officers.
Sadly, there are too many incidents of poor behaviour in youth football, often involving the associated adults, rather than the children themselves. The touchlines in youth football should be full of positive coaches and positive & proud parents, carers, and relatives all behaving in a responsible manner, but , disappointingly, this is not always the case.
At the end of last month, we launched the ‘Making Matchdays Safer' campaign which you can find more details about here.
This campaign combines two elements. Firstly, the 'Smokefree Sidelines' initiative led by Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Councils/local authorities, and secondly, the 'Safer Touchlines' initiative, incorporating the Respect ‘We Only Do Positive’ campaign and free online sessions for coaches, parents, and players.
The aim is to ensure that we begin to reduce and eliminate the poor behaviours from youth football. If we can ensure that there is no smoking around the football pitch, this could have a really significant impact on the health and well-being of young people in the long term.
Additionally, if we can encourage and support coaches and parents to behave in a supportive and positive manner, children will learn to enjoy their football and develop as players and people. As the Respect research shows, '90% of children play better with positivity' and this is the message we want to promote.
For more information about the two initiatives and get your club invovled, visit Making Matchdays Safer.