Safety and accident prevention

Ten important tasks for coach-educators

1. Provide a safe environment

The sports installations and equipment must be safe for the children and other participants. Poor weather conditions must be taken into consideration for all grassroots football activities.

2. Safe, appropriate sports equipment and facilities

The existing codes and standards for equipment must be respected. All equipment and facilities must be kept in good condition and must be appropriate for the category of player involved (e.g. size 4 footballs).

3. Planned activities

Poorly planned football sessions can result in injuries. Technical skills must be taught in a progressive manner, in particular techniques that involve an element of risk (e.g. headers or tackling).

4. Monitor players who are injured or temporarily incapacitated

Players who are injured or temporarily incapacitated must be exempted from exercises that may cause them harm.

5. Play within age categories

It is initially necessary to allocate children to different groups, including talented young players, not only according to age, but also taking into account height, weight and maturity. Experience and skill should also be considered.

6. Inform the children and parents of the inherent risks of the sport

The inherent risks of football can only be legally accepted by the children – or their parents/guardians – if they are aware of, understand and accept the risks.

7. Closely monitored activities

The practice environment must be appropriately monitored in order to ensure that it is as safe as possible.

8. A knowledge of first aid

Coach-educators must have a basic knowledge of first aid and must keep this knowledge up to date. Appropriate medical assistance must be available during organised activities and nothing must be done that may aggravate an injury.

9. Set out clear rules for the activities and how they are to be carried out

Clear, written rules must be drawn up and distributed before all activities, describing how they work and the behaviour expected.

10. Gather essential information on the health of the children

Coach-educators must have basic information on the health of the children and the risks involved so that they can take the best decisions possible in the event of any problems during a coaching session.

The coach-educator’s essential mission is to ensure the protection of the children, not only for the sake of the participants themselves but also to reassure the parents. Given the large number of children, both boys and girls, who take part in football activities, their protection must be a priority. Nobody must be left unsupervised. If carried out correctly, the procedures to protect the children will still allow them to enjoy playing football.