Safeguarding U18s in Open Age Football


The safeguarding of under 18s in football is essential to ensure that everyone plays their part in making the game safe for everyone to enjoy.


In Sheffield and Hallamshire, there are many leagues and clubs that offer opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds to play in open age adult football.  This is a great way for a club to grow and maintain its youth talent and also provides chances for the young players to improve their skills and knowledge of the adult game.

Anyone who is under the age of 18 is classed in law as a child and the standards that apply for all youth football also apply for open age football where there are under 18 year olds. It is important for clubs to recognise that these players will enjoy and thrive as long as their environment allows them to have safe experiences that are adapted to be age-appropriate.

Clubs should consider communication and language, physical environment such as showers and changing rooms, and making sure that these players feel empowered and comfortable in reporting anything that might make them feel ill at ease.

The FA would like all Open Age clubs with 16 and 17 year old's to adopt a Safeguarding policy where processes for dealing with concerns and for reporting issues are clearly set out and all committee members and team managers are on board with the Safeguarding agenda.  Please see the link below to a Safeguarding Policy template:

Safeguarding and Procedures

Safeguarding Policy Template for Clubs with 16-17 Year Old Players


Supporting 16 and 17 year old players

We recommend that you distribute the FA's guidance 'Know Your Rights in Football' to all 16/17-year-old players. We also recommend hosting this information on your club's website and to consider making it part of a 'Welcome Pack’ for new players aged 16 and 17 years old.

Download guidance here

DBS Checks

It is a legal requirement for all people who work or volunteer with U18s to have an in date DBS.  Within football, the umbrella body for the DBS is the FA and once accepted will show on the applicant's FAN record.  All coaches, managers, physios and welfare officers require an FA enhanced DBS.  This is initiated through the Club’s Whole Game System.  For more information please follow the link below 


If you require any support on completing a DBS application, contact Worcestershire County FA's Safeguarding Team via

We recommend ALL club officials become more aware of safeguarding by taking the Safeguarding for All workshop developed by the FA.

Access the Safeguarding for All Course

Adult Disability Football

The FA have developed several resources to support adult disability teams in making sure that their club is promoting the best safeguarding standards. Please view the guidance in the link below.

FA Best Practice