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FA urged to help pay for checks on volunteers

 

The Football Association should help pay to make sure all staff and volunteers are safe to work with children, Sky News has been told.

As the number of abuse allegations within the game continues to grow, all grassroots clubs have been told to ensure their staff have full background checks and have attended safeguarding courses.

But most of those working in grassroots football are volunteers who have to pay for the courses out of their own pockets.

Clubs say the costs involved are making it more difficult to recruit volunteers.

“Asking people to stump up the best part of £200 in their first year of volunteering – I don’t feel comfortable doing it as the chairman of the club,” said Simon Hoyland who is chairman of Cheshire Blades football club in Crewe.

“Once I’ve managed to talk somebody into volunteering, then taking them to one side and saying you’ve got to pay this, and you’ve got to pay for that … it’s not a very comfortable conversation.

“I definitely think the FA should be paying for it. At the end of the day they, like us, are trying to create that safe environment so they, like us, should be looking for ways where it doesn’t cost the volunteer.”

All grassroots clubs have been ordered by the FA to ensure staff are up to date with safeguarding training.

Kenny Saunders from the Save Grassroots Football campaign told Sky News: “There’s billions and millions and millions swimming around at the top.

“That has to be filtered down. We need more money and more support in grassroots football.”

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An FA spokesperson told Sky News: “Safeguarding children in football is a key priority for The FA, with significant funds invested into it.

“Safeguarding awareness training for coaches is embedded in coaching courses and The FA provides a free online re-certification course for anyone who has completed this.

“In addition, to support grassroots clubs’ committees with their responsibilities, a free online course is being developed.

“The only aspect deferred to the club or individual is a £10 charge to cover administration costs for the company that processes the criminal records checks.

“The response from the grassroots football community to our revised Safeguarding Commitment has been overwhelmingly positive and we continue to work with clubs and County FAs across the country on this important piece of work.”

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