SOCIAL IMPACT

Safeguarding and Child Protection

WHAT IS SAFEGUARDING?

Safeguarding means taking proactive action to protect people from harm or abuse through appropriate prevention and response measures and promoting their wellbeing. It means doing everything possible to identify and address risks and to prevent any kind of harm or abuse from happening such as physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect, trafficking and exploitation. It also means having appropriate systems in place to adequately address and respond to concerns.

Child protection is an essential part of safeguarding and refers to the action taken in response to a specific concern for a child or children who may be suffering or is/are at risk of suffering harm or abuse. It requires referral to specialised child protection services, law enforcement agencies and expert local organisations that are trained to advise on, and manage, cases, if concerns arise about a child’s welfare.

Why is Safeguarding needed?

FIFA’s mission is to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all. As part of that effort, "FIFA’s Vision 2020-2023 Making Football Truly Global" sets out FIFA’s commitment to promote safe sport as part of broader efforts to protect human rights.

One of the cornerstones of this commitment is the FIFA Guardians safeguarding programme. The FIFA Guardians programme provides a framework to help our 211 member associations (MA's) to prevent any risk of harm to children in football and respond appropriately, as called for in article 3 of the FIFA Statutes and in line with article 23 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Everyone in football has the right to protection from harassment, abuse and exploitation – be it physical, emotional or, sexual, neglect or bullying. When members of the football family, such as players, coaches, officials, volunteers or staff members, are subjected to or engage in, abusive behaviour or misconduct, it undermines FIFA's mission and is inconsistent with promoting the integrity of football and the values of safe sport.

Children (all those under 18) have specific rights to protection, as articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), because of their need to be cared for and owing to their dependency on others. FIFA also identifies young people over the age of 18, women and persons with disabilities as especially vulnerable groups who must be safeguarded in the delivery of our game.  

Millions of children around the world are involved in football. What these children all have in common is the right to enjoy football in a safe environment, in a culture of respect and understanding.

Gianni Infantino


Safeguarding principles
In line with the terms and spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the safeguarding of children in football is based around the following five principles:
Safeguarding principle 1
Principle 1

We will act in the best interests of children. Ensuring that children are safeguarded is part of a commitment to enhancing their enjoyment and performance in football.

Safeguarding - 2
Principle 2

Children’s rights will be respected and promoted throughout the game of football.

principle 3
Principle 3

The principles and practices in the toolkit will be applied to all children, with no discrimination of any kind.

principle 4
Principle 4

Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of the country we are from or the role we hold in football.

principle 5
Principle 5

Specific roles and responsibilities must be defined within Member Associations (MAs) and all concerns will be reported and dealt with appropriately.

Course one: Safeguarding essentials

You can study the courses developed by FIFA, together with its MAs and confederations, to promote children’s well-being in football and to develop a comprehensive approach to safeguarding best practice throughout the game.

FIFA's vision is to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all

Gianni Infantino

FIFA President

FIFA’S COMMITMENT

FIFA is working together with its 211 Member Associations and 6 Confederations to raise safeguarding standards and develop a comprehensive approach to safeguarding best practice throughout the game.

FIFA’s commitment to keep everybody safe in football is embedded in FIFA’s statutes and regulations:

  • FIFA Statutes, Art 3: “FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights”.

  • FIFA Code of Ethics, Art 23: Zero tolerance to any form of exploitation, abuse or harassment within football. It prohibits “all forms of physical or mental abuse, all forms of harassment, and all other hostile acts intended to isolate, ostracise or harm the dignity of a person. Threats, the promise of advantages, coercion and all forms of sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation are particularly prohibited”.

  • FIFA Forward 2.0 Development Programme 2019-23: Regulations oblige member associations to “take measures to protect and safeguard children and minors from potential abuses and to protect their wellbeing within football."

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 30: Players shake hands during FIFA Foundation Festival Tournament on June 30, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Reporting concerns (BKMS System)

FIFA provides a confidential, dedicated, highly secure and web-based whistleblowing system so that individuals can report any safeguarding concern.

Know more about the official tool

Key Programmatic Elements

 Safeguarding guidance - toolkit
Safeguarding policy guidance

FIFA child safeguarding toolkit for member associations.

FIFA Guardians
Capacity building and Education

The programme will consist of five online courses primarily aimed at training and supporting safeguarding officers from FIFA’s 211 member associations (“FIFA learners”).

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - DECEMBER 01: Players of Mexico pose prior the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 final match between Spain and Mexico at Estadio Charrua on December 1, 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Buda Mendes - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Competition Safeguarding

FIFA is committed to deliver its Competitions in safe and supportive environment free from all forms of harassment, abuse or exploitation.