Scottish youth football coach checks must be robust, says review

An independent review looking at background checks on youth football coaches in Scotland has called for “robust” monitoring to be put in place.

Children 1st began its review in April after the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was accused of being “asleep on the job” over protecting children.

Scotland had earlier found that 2,500 youth football coaches did not have full background checks.

The review said no adult should work with children until PVG checked.

The PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) checks are carried out by Disclosure Scotland which searches databases, including criminal records, and makes sure an individual is not barred from working with children.

Previously, the SYFA allowed coaches to be granted “provisional membership” while checks were being carried out, but it announced in September that this would be axed from April next year.

There are more than 15,000 volunteers involved in delivering football to 60,000 children and young people in the 3,300 clubs affiliated to the Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA).

Children 1st said that until recently there was little evidence of co-operation between the SYFA and Scottish football‘s governing body, the SFA.

It said there was “a lack of transparency” in the SYFA on safeguarding provision and “a lack of sufficient challenge by the Scottish FA”.

After a string of historical child sex abuse cases in youth football came to light at the end of last year, Scotland revealed that thousands of coaches were working in youth football in Scotland .

It emerged that of the 15,385 coaches registered with the SYFA, 2,500 did not have Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) clearance.

In April, Holyrood‘s health and sport committee also accused the SFA of being “asleep on the job” over the issue.

The committee said there was a “compelling case” for the current voluntary PVG scheme to be made mandatory for all sports organisations in Scotland.

Children 1st‘s Safeguarding in Sport service was commissioned by the SFA to carry out the review of the SYFA‘s appointment and selection practice.

It made 13 recommendations, including:

All the recommendations were accepted by the Scottish FA and the SYFA.

They said an implementation plan had been developed for each recommendation.

Children 1st said the SFA had already been implementing some of the recommendations and the remainder would be completed in the first half of 2018. 


MARTIN HENRY & THE PAEDOPHILE RING (James Rennie, Neil Strachan, Celtic, Savile & the Catholic Church)


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