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Football council discusses new policy to safeguard children

A new policy aims to promote positive environment for children and vulnerable persons

26 January 2017, 2:48pm
The Malta Football Association has discussed a new policy and proposed regulations governing the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in football.

The policy was drafted by Andrew Azzopardi, the MFA safeguarding officer who delivered a detailed presentation on the subject to the MFA council members during today’s meeting.

“The wellbeing of the child is of paramount importance for the MFA,” Azzopardi said in his introduction. “The aim of these safeguarding regulations is to promote a positive sporting environment for our children.”

The proposed safeguarding policy is based on four pillars, namely: safe recruitment; policy and training; taking appropriate action when the need arises; and creating space for victims to come forward.

The guidelines stipulate that all persons holding a position of trust – paid or voluntary – must go through a screening process aimed at safeguarding everyone involved in football.

In line with its commitment to prevent all forms of child abuse and poor practice, the proposed regulations would empower the MFA to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.

“This would be a separate process from the established disciplinary mechanisms as the two processes will tackle different matters,” Azzopardi said.

“While the traditional disciplinary process seeks to establish whether a person has breached MFA regulations, the safeguarding exercise would assess potential risk to children and vulnerable adults.”

A new safeguarding board would be set up to look into any cases of concern as reported to the Safeguarding Officer. It is being proposed that all the members of the Board would have experience in child protection.

The panel would have the authority to issue any order as it may deem fit, be it on a provisional or permanent basis. Any sanctions can be appealed through the designated process.

The MFA said it will also continue to work closely with the police and child welfare agencies, where relevant, to protect children and vulnerable adults.

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