under 16 essex

Safeguarding in Open Age Football

We are continually working towards making football in our county a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

At the beginning of 2019 The FA contacted open age adult football clubs and leagues across the country to support them in fully understanding their safeguarding responsibilities for under 18s and adults in disability teams.

Every open age adult club is required to ensure the safeguarding of any under 18s involved with them. In addition, where there are adult disability teams, they are required to promote safeguarding adults, across every aspect of the club.

Adult/Open Age Club Welfare Officer

For season 2023/24, clubs with Open Age/Adult teams are required to have a named Club Welfare Officer at the point of affiliation. Affiliations will not be approved if they are submitted without this role being filled by a named official. These officials do not require any additional safeguarding qualifications or DBS check for the 23/24 season but as good practice, these named individuals should take the free Safeguarding Adults online course and Safeguarding for Committee Members online course.

This requirement is applied to ALL Open Age/Adult teams regardless of whether there are any players aged 16 or 17 years old included within the squad. For the season 2024/25, all Open Age/Adult Clubs will be required to still have a Club Welfare Officer, and in addition that individual will be required to hold a valid in date FA DBS and complete the upcoming Player Welfare training course, which will be available shortly.

Adult/Open Age Club Team Officials

ALL Open Age/Adult team officials of teams with under 18 players (coaches, managers, medics (including assistants)) as identified through the club portal/WGS record are required to have an in date and accepted DBS check. This will be a formal requirement for affiliation for the 2024/25 season alongside the forthcoming Payer Welfare Course, but is still an appropriate certification required from this point forward.

This means that every open-age adult club with active players aged 16 or 17 should ensure that they are not exposed to a coach or manager who is ‘barred from working with children’.

If a club has or is likely to have any 16 or 17-year old involved in open-aged football, we would suggest that they follow the best practice of ensuring that they have at least one member of the coaching staff working with their teams who holds a valid FA DBS Check.

If clubs with Open Age teams do not have a welfare officer and have or are likely to have 16 or 17-year old players, it is important that you train a Club Welfare Officer and adopt safeguarding policies and procedures to safeguard those young people who are under 18.

The Key principles of the FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy are as follows:

• All children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
• All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
• Working in partnership with other organisations, children and young people and their parents and carers is essential.

The welfare of the child is, and must always be, paramount.

Clubs with under 18s in open age adult teams (including disability teams) are required to:

1. Adopt and adhere to Affiliated Footballs Safeguarding Children Policy

FA Safeguarding Children Policy (Adult Clubs with U18 players)


View section 1:
1.4 Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures Club Template
2. Identify which teams have 16 and/or 17 year old players

3. Identify the coaches/managers (including assistant coaches/managers) and medics for these teams and list them on The FA’s Whole Game System alongside the registered

This can be done by the club secretary, assistant secretary or if the club has a youth team by the Club Welfare Officer (Youth Teams).

4. Support coaches/managers (including assistant coaches/managers) and medics working with 16 and/or 17 year olds to complete an FA DBS Check


View section 3:
3.1 Safer recruitment of volunteers
3.5 Eligibility of roles
3.7 DBS FAQs
5. Provide 16 and 17 year old players with safeguarding information


View section 7:
7.1 Know your rights in football

The documents referenced above can be downloaded from the Related Documents section below.

The FA have a wealth of best practice documents collectively explaining how to create a supportive, safe and fun environment for children and young people, which can be found by clicking HERE. Given the prevalence of social media use/misuse today, please refer to specific guidance on this subject.

The AFA Safeguarding Booklet can be downloaded HERE

The FA has produced a number of online courses to upskill volunteers in safeguarding.

FA safeguarding adults

fa safeguarding for committee members

fa safeguarding for all

safeguarding children course

welfare officers course

We are here to help and are committed to creating safe and enjoyable football for all, and to support all our clubs and leagues to ensure these requirements are met.

Further details can be obtained from our Designated Safeguarding Officer: Dyahanne Sappleton

E: safeguarding@amateur-fa.com T: 07904649876