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Liverpool FA letter to Club Secretaries and Welfare Officers

We have written to Club Secretaries and Welfare Officers from all clubs to highlight safeguarding concerns we are having to address this season.

The following letter has been sent to all Club Secretaries and Welfare Officers affiliated to Liverpool FA:

Dear Club Secretary/Welfare Officer,

We hope your season has started well and you’re enjoying the football being played.

We are writing to all clubs to highlight Safeguarding concerns that we are having to address this season.

Last week, we had to make the difficult decision to suspend the fixtures of several youth teams due to Safeguarding non-compliance. This was a result of clubs circumventing the affiliation process by assigning Safeguarding compliant coaches (in date DBS and Safeguarding Children Course), even though they are not the coaches present with those teams on match days, therefore allowing said teams to be managed by non-compliant coaches.

The last thing we want to do is stop children playing football, however Safeguarding is paramount, and we make no apologies for clamping down on clubs who are not adhering to Safeguarding measures and therefore potentially putting children at risk.

In the 2022/23 we dealt with a number of serious Safeguarding cases that arose within grassroots football in our area. The risk to children being exploited and abused, particularly through football, remains significant and ongoing.

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing affiliated data with our Leagues, allowing us to cross reference affiliated team manager data with League registration information, to highlight any non-compliant coaches actively coaching in our grassroots game in Merseyside. We will also begin our annual unannounced Safeguarding visits to both club training sessions and match days, to ensure Clubs are adhering to the mandatory Safeguarding requirements at all times.

Failing to meet FA Safeguarding standards can and will result in teams and potentially entire Club suspensions until the requirements are resolved.

Furthermore, it is good practice for teams to appoint a second coach/manager and/or a parent/helper, whom also have an in-date FA DBS and Safeguarding Children certificate, for instances when the lead manager cannot attend match days or training sessions.

If you have any coaches who are concerned about going through the FA DBS process, please ask them to get in touch with our team and we will discuss the process with them, with all discussions remaining private and confidential. 

We would like to express my thanks to all those Clubs who have worked tirelessly over the close season to ensure that their coaches and volunteers are Safeguarding compliant, along with your ongoing dedication and support in delivering the grassroots game across our region.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Smith - Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Morrison - Designated Safeguarding Officer

Ian Wild - Board Chairman

Neil Fletcher - Board Safeguarding Champion