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Safeguarding young people in open age football

Understanding the mandatory requirements for the upcoming 2024/25 season

The FA and Berks and Bucks FA are beginning a proactive drive to help support clubs to understand and ensure they are embracing their responsibilities for safeguarding 16/17-year-old players.

Every affiliated football club that includes Under-18s must ensure appropriate safeguards are in place. This guide aims to support clubs with open-age adult teams who have 16/17-year-old players.

Everyone working with Under-18s, whether in youth or open-age adult football, is subject to The FA's Safeguarding Policy and Procedures (click here to learn more).

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is an agency delivering the government's requirements for vetting checks for those working with under-18s and they have declared that if a team has or is likely to have one or more 16/17-year-olds in an adult football team, then this is deemed to be a regulated activity. This requires the eligible coaches, managers and medics working with these Under-18s to undertake the requisite DBS Check. 

Mandatory requirements for season 2024-25:
(Strong recommendation to start getting things in place)

All open age clubs

Named Club Welfare Officer (Adult teams) in club portal
CWO (Adult teams) must have completed the Player Welfare in Open Age Football Course found here This course is free and fully completed online
An enhanced DBS check completed through, and approved by the FA will be required. (Details of how to complete this can be found below)

All teams with 16/17-year-old players registered

Team manager, coach, medics require an enhanced DBS check, approved by The FA.
Team manager and coach are required to complete the Player Welfare in Open Age Football course found here. This course is free and fully completed online
All open age clubs should share The FA ‘Know your rights’ document found here, with any registered 16/17 year-old players. 

How to obtain required DBS check

If the club has a youth section, the manager, coach, medic, should complete their DBS check through the Club Welfare Officer (Youth teams).

If the club does not have a youth section, the check can be completed through the Berks and Bucks FA. For details of how to obtain the check through the County FA, please contact us via email

If you have any problems, issues or questions with, or about, any of these requirements, please contact

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