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English football is set to unite again over the above weekend to promote Play Safe – a countrywide campaign to focus attention of the vital importance of safeguarding in our national game.

Led by The Football Association, the Play Safe campaign is endorsed by the NSPCC and will be supported this weekend across every level of English football, including the Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, and across the grassroots game.

This season we are asking EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE – clubs and leagues at every level of the game, (and individuals if they wish) – to tell us what they are planning to do to make a difference over the Play Safe weekend and to share this via an online Play Safe Pledge.

This year’s Play Safe weekend focuses on the safeguarding role EVERYONE has to play – coach, player, parent/carer, spectator or volunteer – to keep children and young people safe, no matter what the football setting. EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, EVERYTIME is encouraged to WATCH, LISTEN, TALK and ACT if they have any safeguarding concerns.

The FA’s Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group (FASSSAG) continues to support Play Safe: “Creating safe environments in every football setting is a collective responsibility. It’s really important that every single person in football – no matter if they’re actively involved or on the sidelines – understands that they have an ongoing role to play. Knowing how to act on any concerns is vital and Play Safe is a key way to raise awareness so that everyone is vigilant and knows what to do if they become aware of any inappropriate behaviour.”

Parents and guardians can also take a free Play Safe safeguarding awareness course here. The online course takes 25-30 minutes to complete. The course is designed to help parents and guardians make an informed decision about the football setting they enrol a child in, explaining the importance of safeguarding in football and ensuring they are asking the right questions to clubs. It also highlights signs that should be of a safeguarding concern, as well as explaining how to report these concerns. Clubs, leagues and individuals have been invited to share what they will be doing to make a difference over the Play Safe weekend by filling out The FA’s online Play Safe pledge. The campaign focuses on the safeguarding role that everyone has to play to keep children and young people safe in football, no matter what the setting is. Ultimately, everyone involved in grassroots football has a responsibility to ensure safeguarding procedure is properly followed. Coaches should ensure DBS checks and relevant FA safeguarding children courses are up to date. Check-ins with players to help them feel safe to share their thoughts and speak up about any concerns are also encouraged. Board or committee members at clubs should look at whether their club has a formal welcome process for new players and their parents or guardians and also ensure the club's welfare officer's contact details are widely available. Alongside this, club's safeguarding procedures and policies should be up to date, with the topic a consistent item on meeting agendas. Everyone everywhere is encouraged to watch, listen, talk and act if they have any safeguarding concerns. For more information on The FA's safeguarding framework, click here.

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