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FIFA launches global safeguarding network

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during the 68th Conmebol Council meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on April 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICH

FIFA promised to enhance child safeguarding standards across its 211 member associations as world football’s governing body launched a new programme on Wednesday.

The FIFA Guardians toolkit has been put together after consultation with experts in the field from UNICEF and the Council of Europe, as well as campaigners who themselves were abused through their participation in sport as children.

Based on “five principles and five steps”, the toolkit will be rolled out through a series of training workshops across all confederations.

Implementing safeguarding measures will also now be obligatory to member association funding from FIFA.

“FIFA has a duty and responsibility to ensure that those who play football can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment,” said FIFA’s general secretary Fatma Samoura.

“It will be a long road and it will be bumpy, but we are ready.”

The development and implementation of the programme comes after a series of abuse scandals.

British football has been rocked by revelations of a slew of historic sexual abuse cases since 2016.

More recently the former head of the Afghanistan Football Federation, Keramuddin Karim, was found guilty of sexually abusing female players and was banned from the sport for life by FIFA.

FIFA’s chief member associations officer Joyce Cook said the safeguarding programme will gradually be expanded for the protection of vulnerable adults.

“While some member associations have well-developed policies and procedures in place, it is clear that many are just starting out on their safeguarding journey,” said Cook.


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