Parent and Carer Guidance

Safeguarding & Welfare Zone

Welcome to West Riding FA's Safeguarding & Welfare Zone!

Here you will find:

  • FAQs
  • Best practice guides
  • FA guidance
  • Reporting procedures
  • DBS guidance
  • Taking safeguarding online
  • Training & education opportunities
  • Feedback forms
  • FA Respect campaign
  • Codes of conducts
And much more...
Safeguarding Contacts

Meet the team

Paul Ratcliffe - West Riding FA Designated Safeguarding Officer - - 0113 2821222 - Option 5 
Hannah Simpson - West Riding FA CEO & Senior Safeguarding Lead - / 0113 2821222 - Option 5 
Gemma Webster - National Safeguarding Officer and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer - / 0113 2821222 - Option 5 
John Byrne - West Riding FA Board Safeguarding Champion

Safeguarding Requirements For Clubs with Youth Teams

Blind football

Safeguarding Requirements For Clubs with Disability Teams


Safeguarding Requirements For Clubs with Open Age Teams


Every child or young person under the age of 18 who plays or participates in football should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from abuse and this is the responsibility of everyone involved in football. 

West Riding FA recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by seeking to protect them from physical, sexual or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. Affiliated football is therefore committed to working to provide a safe environment for all children and young people to participate in the sport to the best of their abilities.

Within this section of our website, you'll find all the necessary policies on safeguarding and welfare, details on how to raise a safeguarding concern and links to available courses and safeguarding guidance. 


Guidance for different age groups and understand children's rights


Mental Health and Wellbeing

Aed locator

The FA and CFAs - Respect

Got a question?

Search our new support portal for Welfare Officer's to quickly find the answer you're looking for!

Knowledge Base

What are Safeguarding Thresholds?

Safeguarding Thresholds underpin how safeguarding matters are managed between the Club/League, County FA, FA Case Management and Statutory Services.

Safeguarding matters/incidents are categorised into four tiers;

Tier 1 – Poor Practice – Club Managed Matters

Tier 2 – Poor Practice – County FA + Club Managed Matters

Tier 3 - Serious Cases – FA Case Management + County FA

Tier 4 – Serious Cases (Including abuse) – FA Case Management + Statutory Services (Police, Local Authority Designated Officer, Children’s Services)

Poor Practice is behaviour which falls below the standard required by a club as set out in the Code of Conduct. Whilst the behaviour may not be immediately dangerous or intentionally harmful it does set a poor example and if it were to continue, it might lead to harm or put a child in danger.

To allow poor practice to continue unchallenged may result in an environment developing in which abuse may be able to take place. It normalises behaviour which is unacceptable and should not be condoned. It may also lead to other people having suspicions about an individual’s motivations, even if there was no intention to harm.

If it is decided that the matter is one of poor practice and is to be dealt with by the club then it will need to be referred to the club disciplinary committee (which could simply be the club chairman, secretary and designated safeguarding officer depending on the club constitution) to be dealt with as quickly as possible. It is important that club disciplinary rules refer to poor practice to enable such issues to be dealt with through that process.

  • Failure to provide effective supervision for coaching sessions which should be properly planned;
  • Putting performance over the wellbeing and safety of players;
  • Having a win at all costs mentality and failing to be gracious in defeat;
  • Lack of respect for other individuals, such as match officials, opposition coaches, players, managers and spectators and failing to accept a match official’s decision (this may be dealt with by way of on field disciplinary proceedings but may fall short of being dealt with in this way)
  • Having favourites and not treating all children fairly and equitably;
  • Allowing rough and dangerous play, bullying, the use of bad language or inappropriate behaviour by players;
  • Overtraining and exerting undue influence over players;
  • Using punishments that humiliate or harm children;
  • Not taking time to explain coaching techniques and ensuring they are understood by all players;
  • Condoning rule violations by players and not adhering to the laws and spirit of the game;
  • Not holding required FA coaching qualifications for the role being carried out;
  • Providing one to one coaching without any supervision or the presence of other adults;
  • Inappropriate use of social media;
  • Allowing children to discriminate on the grounds of religion, race, gender, social class or lack of ability;
  • Failure to encourage children to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour;
  • Engaging in, or tolerating, offensive, insulting or abusive language or behaviour;
  • Failure to challenge poor practice in others;
  • Allowing allegations of abuse to go unchallenged or unrecorded and failing to report these to the DSO;
  • Failure to record incidents or accidents
  • First aid being administered without others being present other than in an emergency
  • Not referring more serious medical incidents to the club first aider;
  • Not having access to a telephone to be able to immediately contact emergency services if necessary;
  • Not working as part of a team to ensure the safety of children in their care;
  • Failing to address the additional needs of disabled players or other vulnerable groups;
  • Allowing confidential information to be shared inappropriately;
  • Failure to respect and listen to the opinions of children and consider the rights and responsibilities of children;
  • Failure to display and promote consistently high standards of behaviour and appearance;
  • Smoking and consuming alcohol during coaching sessions;
  • Spending excessive time alone with children;
  • Taking children to their own home;
  • Not adhering to guidance when transporting children including travel abroad.


The above list is not an exhaustive, but it should give an idea of the type of behaviour which constitutes poor practice.

It may not always be clear at the outset whether the concern is one of poor practice or abuse; it may only become apparent once further information has been collected and an assessment can properly be made.

In order to consider the severity of the case, the CFA DSO will need to gather information about the concern, the individuals involved and any other relevant information.


The CFA DSO may need to talk to others involved in the matter and ask for some statements before being able to assess the situation.

  • Repeat offenders
  • Any matters where a child could be at risk of harm
  • Any matters where there could be a breach of FA Disciplinary Regulations
  • Any matters that you have tried to address but continue to happen in the club

Poor Practice: The easiest way to refer a poor practice Safeguarding Concern is via the See it, hear it, report it section on the County FA Website. Click here to access the form.


Abuse: If the case involves a child who may be at risk of harm or abuse, the referral must be made via email to

The CFA DSO will need to make the referral to FA Case Management.


The referral requires completion with as much information as possible about both the alleged perpetrator being referred as well as the child or adult who has suffered the alleged abuse. This will mean the CFA DSO will have to carry out some information gathering before making the referral.


how to report safeguarding concerns

Click here to find out more.
Safeguarding At Risk

safeguarding adults in disability football

Pitch - Halfway Line

Volunteers working on behalf of West Riding FA

It's our responsibility to ensure that any individual who works on behalf of West Riding FA, either in a voluntary or paid capacity, meets the necessary Safeguarding requirements for their position.

Please follow the link below for further information, and to download our Safeguarding Briefing and Code of Conduct documents. 

The designated safeguarding officer network

Football is proud to have a network of Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSO) across football – all supporting safe and fun environments for everyone. The majority of this network consists of volunteers within grassroots football. They are generally known as Welfare Officers. Those working in the professional clubs are referred to as DSOs.


Young People in Adult Football

It is imperative that open age clubs understand their responsibilities for safeguarding 16 and 17 year olds players. 

If your club has an adult team that has Under-18s that are registered at any time during the season, you are responsible for ensuring that the safeguarding measures are in place. 

Grants ranging between £100 - £500


We are here to support and encourage organisations to engage proactively with young people to ensure that their voice is heard.

This fund is managed by the Safeguarding Team here at West Riding FA and there are three key areas that we are looking for organisations to focus on.

Young Volunteers
Footballs in a training session

Safeguarding Visits: What does good look like?

As part of our commitment to safeguarding young people in the game we (West Riding FA) routinely undertake Safeguarding Reviews with clubs which have youth teams.  

FA welfare officers course

Check out upcoming courses.

Level 1 coach
section 11


The FA and County FA volunteering roles

safeguarding in the digital world

Junior clubs and dbs guidance

Girls Football


The FA’s Respect campaign was launched in the 2008/9 season after a build-up of behavioural problems in the National Game. Following its success, The FA want to spread the message of Respect even further across English football. The new campaign - ‘We Only Do Positive’ - aims to do just that.

The new campaign highlights the importance of positive behaviour towards young footballers, specifically looking at the impact parents and coaches can have. The campaign is rooted in extensive research carried out in 2017/18 to understand more clearly the effect of negative behaviour on Under 7s - Under 18s and where Respect interventions would be most effective.

Find out more about The FA's We Only Do Positive Respect Campaign

Click here