Open Age Football

Safeguarding in Open Age Football

Information for Adult Clubs with Players Under 18

Helping adult clubs understand their Safeguarding responsibilities

We are constantly working to make football in our county a safe and enjoyable experience for all, which includes young players in open-age football.

At the start of 2020 The FA contacted open-age adult football clubs and leagues across the country to support them in fully understanding their safeguarding responsibilities for Under 18s, and adults in disability teams.

Every open-age adult club is required to ensure the safeguarding of any Under 18s involved with them. In addition where there are adult disability teams, they are required to promote safeguarding adults, across every aspect of the club.

Details of the requirements at each level of the game can be found in documents below. Many clubs will already meet these requirements, particularly those who also offer youth football where similar requirements have been enforced for some time.

We are here to help

Hertfordshire FA are committed to creating safe and enjoyable environment for everyone in football. We are here to support all of our adult clubs and leagues to ensure these requirements are met and can help you with any questions you may have in terms of safeguarding.

For further information and assistance please contact our Designated Safeguarding Officer on 01462 650215 or by emailing

Get in Touch

If you have a question about safeguarding in football or want to report a concern, please contact Gemma Chaffey, our Designated Safeguarding Officer

By Phone:

01462 650215 / 07538 990836

By Email:

For 16/17 Year Olds

Know Your Rights in Football

If you are aged 16 or 17 and playing in open aged football, The FA have created this simple guidance document to help you understand your rights and what to do if you have a concern.

Download Here

Know Your Rights in Football

Supporting Adult Teams with 16/17 Year Old Players

We know that many 16 and 17-year-old players look to play in open age football, and that this is a fantastic opportunity for them to progress and be challenged both technically and physically. However, club officials, managers and players must also recognise that these young players are still legally children.

This means that Managers, Coaches, Assistants and Medical Staff with U18 players in their teams must be named on The FAs Whole Game System (WGS), have an in date accepted Enhanced FA DBS Check and have completed the appropriate online Safeguarding Training from The FA.

Clubs can further assist with the introduction and enjoyment of 16 and 17-year-old players in open age adult teams by considering the following:

  • Managers/Coaches welcoming U18s and discussing with them upfront their expectations of joining the team, including playing time and their role within the team;
  • Managers/Coaches acknowledging with U18s and their parents/carers the potential for exposure to adult player behaviours e.g. swearing or alcohol consumption;
  • Ensuring photography/filming of players does not occur in changing areas;
  • Supporting U18s who request to change discretely or shower separately from the other adult players to be able to do so;
  • Identifying a suitable player (possibly the captain) to ensure the others on the team remain mindful of the player’s age throughout the season;
  • Ensuring there are no demeaning initiation rituals (sometimes referred to as hazing);
  • Ensuring U18s receive The FAs guidance - ‘Know Your Rights’ and understand how to raise any concerns they may have;
  • Informing Match Officials when there are U18s in the team;
  • Appropriately managing travel arrangements for matches for U18s and ensuring appropriate accommodation is provided for U18s if the team needs to stay away for competition games/cup finals

Find Out More

For further information on Safeguarding in Open Age Football, please download the relevant documents below or contact our Designated Safeguarding Officer who will be happy to help. You can also learn more about Football's Safeguarding Policies and Procedures by visiting The FA website.