Safeguarding Children

It is an FA requirement that Member Clubs have a nominated Welfare Officer who has been CRC-checked. Our own Policy below reflects that of The FA's Safeguarding Children Policy, and is in line with FA Charter Standard League requirements.

See also our Equality Policy and Complaints Procedure and Respect page.

The Cheltenham Youth Football League's Welfare Officer is Steve Mattos (
e-mail or 01242 521119).

League Safeguarding Children Policy

1. The Cheltenham Youth Football League acknowledges its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of every child and young person who has been entrusted to its care and is committed to working to provide a safe environment for all members. A child or young person is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any Youth League football activity. We subscribe to The Football Association’s Safeguarding Children - Policy and Procedures and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document.

2. The key principles of The FA Safeguarding Children Policy are that:

  • The child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration
  • All children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language, racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • Working in partnership with other organisations, children and young people and their parents/carers is essential.

We acknowledge that 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 poor practice and abuse. The Cheltenham Youth Football League recognises that this is the responsibility of every adult involved in our league.

3. The Cheltenham Youth Football League has a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is noted and accepted that The Football Association’s Child Protection Regulation (see The FA Handbook) applies to everyone in football whether in a paid or voluntary capacity. This means whether you are a volunteer, match official, helper on club tours, football coach, club official or medical staff.

4. We endorse and adopt The FA’s Responsible Recruitment guidelines for recruiting volunteers and we will:

  • Develop a role profile
  • Request identification documents
  • As a minimum meet and chat with the applicant(s) and where possible conduct interviews before appointing
  • Request and follow up with 2 references before appointing
  • Require an FA Enhanced Criminal Record Check (CRC) where appropriate in line with FA guidelines

Under the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) it is the Club's responsibility that all current Cheltenham Youth Football League members with direct access to children and young people will be required to complete an FA Enhanced CRC. If there are concerns regarding the appropriateness of an individual who is already involved or who has approached us to become part of the Cheltenham Youth Football League, guidance will be sought from The Football Association. It is noted and accepted that The FA will consider the relevance and significance of the information obtained via the FA Enhanced CRC and that all decisions will be made in the best interests of children and young people.

It is accepted that The FA aims to prevent people with a history of relevant and significant offending from having contact with children or young people and the opportunity to influence policies or practice with children or young people. This is to prevent direct sexual or physical harm to children and to minimise the risk of ‘grooming’ within football.

5. The Cheltenham Youth Football League supports The FA’s Whistle blowing Policy. Any adult or young person with concerns about a colleague can ‘whistle blow’ by contacting The FA Child Protection Team on 0207 745 4787, by writing to The FA Case Manager at The Football Association, Wembley Stadium, London, SW1P 9EQ or alternatively by going direct to the Police, Children’s Services or the NSPCC. The Cheltenham Youth Football League encourages everyone to know about it and utilise it if necessary.

6. The Cheltenham Youth Football League has appointed a Youth League Welfare Officer (YLWO) in line with the FA’s role profile and required completion of the Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officers Workshop. The post holder will be involved with Welfare Officer training provided by The FA and/or CFA. The YLWO is the first point of contact for all league committee members regarding concerns about the welfare of any child or young person. The YLWO will liaise directly with the CFA Welfare Officer and will be familiar with the procedures for referring any concerns. They will also play a proactive role in increasing awareness of Respect, poor practice and abuse among Club Welfare Officers (CWO) and their members and league committee members.

7. We acknowledge and endorse The FA’s identification of bullying as a category of abuse. Bullying of any kind is not acceptable at our league. If bullying does occur, all players or parents/carers should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly. Incidents need to be reported to the relevant CWO or YLWO or alternatively in cases of serious bullying we may contact the CFA Welfare Officer.

8. Respect codes of conduct for Players, Parents/ Spectators, Officials and Coaches have been implemented by the Cheltenham Youth Football League. In order to validate these Respect codes of conduct the league has clear actions it will take regarding repeated or serious misconduct at club level and acknowledges the possibility of potential sanctions which may be implemented by the CFA in more serious circumstances. All registering clubs will be required to adopt the Respect codes.

9. Reporting your concerns about the welfare of a child or young person

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility: if you are worried about a child it is important that you report your concerns – no action is not an option.

i. If you are worried about a child then you need to report your concerns to the YLWO.

ii. If the issue is one of poor practice they will either:

  - deal with the matter themselves or

  - seek advice from the County FA Welfare Officer

iii. If the concern is more serious – possible child abuse they will where possible contact the County FA Welfare Officer first, then immediately contact the Police or Children’s Services

iv. If the child needs immediate medical treatment take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them this is a child protection concern. Let your County FA Welfare Officer know what action you have taken.

v. If at any time you are not able to contact your YLWO or the matter is serious then you can either:

  - contact your County FA Welfare Officer directly or

  - call The FA/NSPCC 24 hour Helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000 or

  - contact the Police or Children’s Services


N.B. The FA’s Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures, available via  - click on the ‘downloads’ under Policy and Procedures, outlines in detail what to do if you are concerned about the welfare of a child and includes flow diagrams to describe this process. This is also covered within the Safeguarding Children workshop, where participants are given the opportunity to discuss how this feels and how best they can prepare themselves to deal with such a situation.

10. Further advice on Safeguarding Children matters can be obtained from: