Amateur sports clubs tighten disclosure checks on coaches

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MSPs told sports clubs will make sure all coaches are cleared before they can work with kids 

5th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Coaches of amateur football teams will be required to complete disclosure checks before working with children.

The Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA) is introducing changes to its system of disclosure clearance.

Coaches are usually granted provisional membership of the SYFA while checks are being carried out.

But this will be stopped from April next year.

It comes after an investigation found that of 15,385 coaches registered with SYFA, 2,500 had not had Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) clearance.

Chairman John McCrimmond told MSPs changes were now being implemented.

He said: "As of the 21st of August, they are not allowed to work with children until we have received the forms in that they're now in the PVG process.

"At that point they become a provisional member, which allows them to work with the kids providing they're working with and supervised by a PVG holder.

"From the 1st of April 2018 we'll be removing that provisional membership, and it'll become the situation that they will not be allowed to work with kids until such a time as we've completed the PVG process on that individual."

Matt Forde, head of NSPCC Scotland, applauded the move. He said child safety should be paramount in sport and it was “entirely right” that adults coaching football to youngsters will be subject to background checks before being allowed access to children.

“The NSPCC has repeatedly called for measures to improve safeguarding in sport and ensure all relevant adults working with children are members of the PVG system,” he said.  

“It is vital that the system works effectively and that these measures are implemented as soon as possible.

“We also want an urgent extension of the sexual offence of ‘position of trust’ to cover sports coaches and relevant others.

"It’s remarkable that roles like sports coaches are not covered by this law given the significant amount of responsibility, influence and authority they have over teenagers aged 16 and 17.

“We know that this trust can be abused and it is vital that this legal definition is widened to bolster protection for teenagers at risk of grooming once they pass the age of consent."

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