The Scottish FA today publishes its five-year Child Wellbeing and Protection Strategy – a key recommendation of the Independent Review of Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football.

Getting It Right for Every Child in Scottish Football outlines the governing body’s commitment to ensuring the national game is a safe and inclusive environment for all involved.

It centres on five strategic pillars:

  • Embedding a consistent child wellbeing and protection system throughout the game
  • Promoting children’s rights in all we do
  • Support and develop learning and knowledge of child protection and wellbeing
  • Improve standards at all levels
  • Strengthen leadership, governance and accountability

The launch coincided with the hosting of the Scottish FA’s second annual meeting of Child Wellbeing and Protection Officers. The network meeting is designed to share learnings on child wellbeing and protection from within and outwith football, and implement best practice guidance from across sport and wider communities.

The Chief Executive was joined at the network meeting by Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People, Jackie Brock, the Independent Advisory Board Chair, Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland, Martin Henry, Chair of the Independent Review, and Paul Stewart, the former Tottenham Hotspur player and abuse survivor.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “As Scotland’s national sport, we have known for a long time about the positive impact football can have on children and young people. It can impact on all of the national indicators of a child’s wellbeing — that she or he is safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

“Above all our children and young people should love being involved in football, enjoying and having fun in whatever way they choose to participate. This can only come about if they feel, and are, safe.

“In 2016 the Scottish FA commissioned an independent review into Sexual Abuse in Scottish Football. The Interim Report, published in 2018, reported that football had not always been a safe place for some of the children and young people involved in our game.

“The recommendations highlighted that the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our sport needed to be prioritised at every level of the game. As a Board we are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the Independent Review and who has therefore provided the catalyst for the transformational change that this strategy seeks to achieve.

“The Scottish FA Board is pleased to introduce this five-year strategy for Scottish football and we extend our thanks to all those who took part in its construction. We look forward to receiving and scrutinising updates on its implementation and to fulfilling our leadership role across the game in this essential area of Scottish football.”

Children & Young People’s Minister Maree Todd said: “Play is an important part of growing up and all children should be able to safely experience the positive impact of taking part in sport.

“I welcome the Scottish FA’s steps to strengthen its commitment to child protection in line with our National Performance Outcomes, giving children the opportunity to enjoy football in a safe, inclusive environment.”