Sutton United is lending its full support to Play Safe – a national FA-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football.
Play Safe is being run in partnership with the NSPCC and has the full backing of the Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship. It’s also supported and being run across every other level of the game.
The main element of Play Safe is a series of short films which emphasise the importance of clubs such as ours having safeguarding embedded in all that we do. The films also explain to parents/carers and children themselves know what to do if they feel unsafe or worried, because nothing matters more than making sure football is safe for everyone, especially children and young people. You can see these films below, together with academy manager Ricky Wellard explaining how concerns can be reported at Sutton United.
Club chairman Bruce Elliott emphasised how importantly we take the safeguarding situation, saying. ''Sutton United wholeheartedly supports the 'Play Safe' campaign. We as a club take safeguarding very seriously and it is discussed at every Board Meeting, as it is paramount that all children and vulnerable adults are safe to enjoy football. Mark Buetow is the Club Designated Safeguarding Officer and Phil Letts our Safeguarding Lead and Senior Safeguarding Manager, and we have a clear policy and procedures in place which will help us to safeguard vulnerable groups. Our club safeguarding policy can be found in the Governance section of our website and is also reproduced here (link), and this contains a link which can be used to raise any safeguarding concerns. Concerns can also be raised with any club official, or through the dedicated email address email@example.com, or through the boxes located around the club where concerns can be reported anonymously and confidentially. It has always been, and will always remain the case that Sutton United is a family club and families and their safety is hugely important.''
The club's safeguarding policy can be found here.
FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham says: “As a youth team coach, I will be working with my club to ensure we support the Play Safe messaging. I am also pleased that the campaign has the support of the former footballers with lived experience of abuse in football, who are on our Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group. The Group has collectively said:
“Learning from the past is crucial, so that we can prevent the horrific experiences that happened to us and so many others in football, from happening again.
“As a group of survivors, we fully support the ethos and important messages that Play Safe conveys – whether to club officials, parents/carers and or vitally, children and young people themselves. Equally important is that Play Safe is not a one-off campaign – it will be used at key points in the football calendar to remind everyone in football, that children’s welfare and keeping them safe, should be at the heart of all that we do.”
As the Survivor Group points out, you’ll see Play Safe appearing at various points throughout the season to keep safeguarding front of mind in football. Together, we want to do everything we can so everyone – particularly children and young people – has a consistently positive experience of our great game.