Safeguarding and child protection
FIFA’s commitment to promote safe sport and raise safeguarding standards in football was further strengthened in 2021 through a number of programmes, initiatives and commitments – all designed to ensure society’s most vulnerable can play the beautiful game without fear.
The FIFA Guardians programme, to help FIFA’s 211 member associations to introduce stronger safeguarding measures in football to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone across the game – especially children – was rolled out. One of the key pillars of this programme includes the development and embedding of event safeguarding within FIFA’s competitions, with preparations now under way for the upcoming FIFA youth tournaments in 2022 and for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
In January 2021, the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma, the first of its kind, was launched together with the Open University. It was designed to further raise safeguarding standards and to professionalise and train safeguarding officers in football. The diploma is made up of five online courses, together with a series of webinars, assignments and a residential workshop for designated learners. As of December 2021, 204 FIFA Learners were enrolled on this new FIFA educational programme and are expected to graduate in early 2023. In addition, more than 3,000 open learners from around the world signed up to the programme and will start with the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding Essentials module.
As a cornerstone of FIFA’s commitment to support its members, FIFA continued to hold a series of safeguarding workshops for all its member associations, working closely with therespective confederations.
As part of FIFA’s commitment to promote safe sports, FIFA announced the launch of a multi-stakeholder global consultation process in late 2020 to consider the establishment of a multi-sport, multi-agency, international safe sport entity to help sports judicial bodies investigate and appropriately manage cases of abuse using a survivor-centred approach. This has been an extensive consultation process with more than 230 stakeholders, providing their expert feedback and evidence globally, with clear recommendations for action. The final report was shared with all participating stakeholders in November 2021. While ensuring that this remains a multi-stakeholder and collaborative process, FIFA has appointed an independent secretariat mandated to form a representative working group of experts from around the world with the different skill sets required to establish the new entity.
FIFA and the World Health Organization teamed up again in 2021 to raise awareness about domestic violence and support those at risk, during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. The #SafeHome campaign was relaunched on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), and ran until Human Rights Day on 10 December 2021.