The UAE Pro League has held its annual workshop for Child Safeguarding Officer at professional clubs, where the ultimate goal was to align child protection strategies at the clubs in accordance according to Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights (Wadeema’s Law), which highlights young players' safety and well-being as a top priority.
The workshop came in line with UAE Pro League commitment to protecting young players in the belief that every child has the right to practice football in a safe and convenient environment.
The workshop, which was held at the UAE Pro League headquarters in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (November 24), was attended by Musab Al Marzooqi, Chief Corporate Services Officer, Stuart Larman, Director of Clubs' Licensing and Development at the UAE Pro League, Tarek Arafat, Projects Development Manager, Abdullah Mubarak, Senior Club Licensing Officer, Rami Issa, Club Licensing Officer, along with representatives of professional clubs in the UAE.
Various items were discussed throughout the event including Club Licensing requirements, the importance of the role of the Child Safeguarding Officer (CSO) at any club, the requirements for appointing a CSO, how to audit the tasks of the CSO, as well as reviewing child protection policies and how to apply them.
The workshop asserted that the CSO at a club must be an Emirati national, and be responsible for setting child protection regulations in the club, while keeping a record containing the names of workers, part-time employees, project workers, volunteers, and third-party companies who are in direct contact with children.
Child protection official shall also ensure that all workers in direct contact with children are well aware of child-related federal laws while complying with them, in addition, they are required to be the main contact point for all records and reports related to children.
The importance of providing a safe and comfortable environment for children to play football in the United Arab Emirates was also demonstrated, as every child has the right to be protected from physical, emotional or sexual harassment, mistreatment and exploitation, neglect or bullying.
In this regard, UAE Pro League reviewed its efforts by working closely with the Child Protection Specialists, the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA.
The primary objectives of the UAE Pro League child protection strategy are to guide clubs on:
-facilitating reporting procedures regarding child protection violations, and ensuring the ease, smoothness and speed of the search and investigation into all child protection-related issues, in cooperation with the concerned departments and authorities, while raising the level of awareness of club staff on issues concerning the protection of young players in clubs.
Furthermore, the workshop shed light on the importance of implementing necessary strategic measures to achieve maximum protection of children. The Pro League stressed the adherence to the four main pillars of the Pro League Child Safeguarding strategy, which are:
The Child Safeguarding Officer should also implement internal training on a wide spectrum for club staff on issues related to child protection, as the Ministry of Interior and the UAE Pro League provide training tools and means facilitating the process of assessing child protection at a club.