UAE has always led the world in advancements in various fields like science, medicine, lifestyle, education, and entertainment. Sports and gaming is a field were major changes have been happening in the past decade. In a most recent announcement, UAE Pro League has yet again become the first governing body in the Middle East to launch a pioneering Child Safeguarding programme. Aim of this initiative is to ensure that children can enjoy their right to play football in a safe and inclusive environment and to prevent any risk of harm to children involved in the game.
The initiative is set to be implemented in collaboration with Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre (MOI CPC) and by working alongside the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA. UAE Pro League has always been keen to fulfil its commitment to promote and protect the safety and welfare of children. The fact that FIFA has always stated its objective to ensure involvement in football, in any form, is a positive experience for all children; it’s only fitting that UAE Pro League and FIFA to work towards this initiative.
The four core objectives of the Child Safeguarding programme are:
- Implementing safeguarding measures to create a safe football environment for children
- Facilitate the reporting of concerns
- Ensuring swift investigations of concerns
- Increasing awareness of children safety and protection within clubs.
Waleed Al Hosani, UAE Pro League CEO, expressed his delight at the launch of the programme, explaining: “ Child protection and welfare have always been a priority for the UAE’s leadership, and it is our role to work with organizations like FIFA, AFC, UAE FA and MOI CPC to ensure children of the UAE are safeguarded within the football environment.”
“At the UAE Pro League, we intend to be a leading light in Asia by adopting a clear policy in Child Safeguarding; a step towards a brighter future for football and all of its stakeholders. We are delighted to be the pioneers in this region and amongst the first in Asia to commit to delivering an effective safeguarding policy,” he further added.
“The AFC Executive Committee pledged to make safeguarding a key initiative when they met in November 2018 and we are delighted that so many stakeholders, like the UAE Pro League, have followed our lead,” said the AFC General Secretary, Dato’Windsor John.
He further congratulated the UAE Pro League, “We congratulate them and wish them very best of success with their ground-breaking safeguarding initiatives which provide a strong lead for many other Member Associations and Leagues in Asia.”
FIFA also did not fail to extend its support to UAE Pro League. Joyce Cook, FIFA Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer detailed, “FIFA believes that every child who plays or participates in football has the right to do so in a fun and safe environment. We welcome the proactive efforts by the UAE Pro League to launch this new programme and its commitment to work hand-in-hand with the MOI CPC to roll out safeguarding training to all clubs in the country.”
“This important initiative is in line with the principles and practical steps outlined in the FIFA Guardians toolkit,” he further added.
Launched with much expectation, the Child Safeguarding programme is yet to show fruitful results in the coming future.