under 16 essex

Promoting Safeguarding in Football

Find out more about our initiative to safeguarding those in football.


The Amateur Football Alliance are committed to continually look at ways we can improve the environment and safeguard those aged under 18 who are participating in open-age football.

All under 18 match officials are offered the opportunity to wear a yellow armband, but following consultation with the Amateur FA Youth Advisory Group, this was deemed unsuitable for the wider participation pool. Instead, a pitch side banner, that would indicate there are under 18s in the vicinity, without singling them out as individuals was recommended.

As such, during the 2022/23 season, we began to deliver banners, free of charge to Amateur FA clubs with a proportionally high number of registered under 18 participants in comparison to the number of teams that they operate. These clubs have already been making these visible on their matchdays. The banners are portable so can be taken home and away; convenient in that they do not require a fence or barrier to be erected; plus robust to cater for the outdoor elements. Clubs may place these banners by the pitch where they have young participants, or outside their changing rooms so it is visible to all before they start playing their fixtures.

The Amateur FA would like to remind all its members, that whether they have under 18 participants or not, that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Although they may not be playing for your team, you could be in opposition to, or be officiated by a 16 or 17 year-old. You have a responsibility to them as a result. Please ensure that you share the importance and messaging of the banners and share this with your members. If under 18s are participating in the footballing environment, we ask that you respect them and respect the game.

Dyahanne Sappleton, Designated Safeguarding Officer at the Amateur FA said, “Despite only having adult clubs affiliated to the County FA, it is still vital that we safeguard those U18s participating in the game. We will continue to identify proactive means to try and provide the best, positive and safest footballing environment for those involved within Amateur FA football. Many thanks to the Youth Advisory Group for their thoughts and insight towards the creation of the pitch side banners that we are now providing to clubs”.

If you are an Amateur FA club who currently doesn’t own one of these banners, but would like to do so, please email safeguarding@amateur-fa.com and we can look into providing one for you.

Under 18 safeguarding banner