Every child or young person who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football.

Durham County Schools' Football Association recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is determined to meet its obligations to ensure that those Associations and schools providing football opportunities for children and young people do so to the highest possible standard of care.

Every child or young person (defined as any person under the age of 18) who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in football. The DCSFA is committed to working to provide a safe environment for all children and young people to participate in the sport to the best of their abilities for as long as they choose to do so.

The Safeguarding Children Policy is supported by the FA’s Respect Programme to address verbal abuse and bullying of youngsters by Parents/Carers, spectators and coaches.


DCSFA is committed to working in partnership with the ESFA, LEA, Police, Children’s Services Departments, Local Safeguarding Children's Boards (LSCB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in accordance with their procedures. This is essential to enable these organisations to carry out their statutory duties to investigate concerns and protect all children and young people.

The DCSFA's Safeguarding Children Policy is in response to government legislation and guidance, developed to safeguard the welfare and development of children and young people.

*All affiliated associations / schools / colleges / academies will have their own Safeguarding Policy in place as it is recognised that in many instances the school/college/academy Safeguarding Lead will be the first point of contact in the event of an alleged incident. A close liaison with these colleagues is essential.

The name and contact details for the DCSFA's CWO will appear on all correspondence with Parents/Carers.

February 2021

Other DCSFA Safeguarding Documentation

Anti bullying Policy Child Protection Policy
Criteria for DCSFA Team Manager Photography Policy
Risk Assessment for Cup Finals Risk Assessment for County Matches
Trials: COVID 19 Risk Assessment Trials: Control Measures
Trials: Risk Assessment Trials: Team Selection Policy
Safeguarding Policy Social Media Statement
Social Media & Communicating to U18s Using Texts & Emails with U18s

Risk Assessments for Specific Venues

Downhill Hub, Sunderland
Washington Hub

Links to where other important Safeguarding and Child Welfare information can be found

Football Association: Safeguarding - Rules and Regulations
Football Association: Inclusion and Anti-discrimination
Durham FA: Safeguarding and Welfare
ESFA: Child Welfare
ESFA: Policies including Whistleblowing
NSPCC: The UK's children's charity
NSPCC: Child protection in Sport Unit


The FA have published new guidance for heading which can be viewed here.

The FA have also published a document relevant to heading for those involved with youth football. This can be viewed using this youth heading guidance link.


The FA has provided an update on "non-elite" football in advance of Step 4 of the Government's roadmap.

On Monday 19 July, England will move to Step 4 of its roadmap in easing COVID-19 restrictions.

This means that almost all legal restrictions of social contact will be removed. However, the Government is encouraging people to act with caution. Our guidance has therefore been updated to reflect this.

This updated guidance which covers Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), Tiers 3-6 of the Women's Football Pyramid and grassroots football (including Regional NLS Feeder Leagues), comes into effect on Monday 19 July.

The full Step Four guidance document can be found here and the Safeguarding Risk Assessment Guidance here. However, the summary key points are:

1. On field adaptions for playing football are no longer required.
2. No limits of how many people can meet.
3. One metre plus rule removed.
4. The definition of close contact remains the same, however the rules on self-isolation will be changing from 16 August.
5. Face coverings no longer required by law, but recommended in crowded indoor settings and may be mandated by some clubs or facility providers.
6. Changing rooms can be used, however participants should use their own judgement and minimise use where possible to avoid close contact in a crowded area for a prolonged time.
7. No capacity limits for spectators but good practice is encouraged.
8. Hospitality is permitted without restrictions.
9. NHS Test and Trace QR codes not required by law but encouraged.
10. Free NHS lateral flow testing is available to clubs and we encourage clubs to take this up.
11. No domestic travel restrictions. Participants should continue to follow Government advice on international travel for any fixtures/ tournaments.

This guidance document applies to all youth and adult football and Futsal, including all formats of the game, both indoors and outdoors.

By observing Government guidance and the football-specific protocols, everyone can look forward to ensuring the transition back to enjoying football is as smooth and safe as possible.


All documents relevant for restarting and maintaining schools' football activity can be found on the ESFA website by using the following link. COVID-19 GUIDANCE

A summary of key points to consider from ESFA guidelines are listed for ease below:


As with all public liability policies the protection is in relation the third-party claims following injuries sustained or property damage claims. For this type of claim to be successful the claimant's solicitor would need to prove the Association had acted negligently. All risk assessments would need to be completed before events take place. For any insurance cover to be effective all activities must be in line with current guidelines, and in adherence with current Social Distancing protocols.

ESFA Evidence of Insurance document can be viewed here.