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READ | Millers pledge support to Play Safe campaign ahead of National Football Safeguarding Weekend

19 November 2021

Rotherham United are proud to be lending our full support to Play Safe – a national FA-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding in football – reaffirming our backing at the Sky Bet League One encounter with Cambridge United which falls on the National Football Safeguarding Weekend.

Play Safe is being run in partnership with the NSPCC and has the full backing of the Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship. It’s also supported and being run across every other level of the game.

The main element of Play Safe is a series of short films which emphasise the importance of clubs such as ours having safeguarding embedded in all that we do. The films also explain to parents/carers and children themselves know what to do if they feel unsafe or worried, because nothing matters more than making sure football is safe for everyone, especially children and young people. You can see these films on our club website and we’ve also broadcast them on our social media channels.

 

Ahead of the clash with Cambridge United, the Millers will be sharing content about the importance of safeguarding on our website and social media channels to reiterate its importance and how seriously we take the issue here at the club.

First team boss Paul Warne will also don the official 'FA Play Safe' pin badge in the technical area for Saturday afternoon's game.

Rotherham United’s Head of Community Jamie Noble was quick to praise football’s efforts to raise awareness and understanding around a topic that he believes should always be at the forefront of people’s thinking.

“I think, quite rightly, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the importance of safeguarding people young and old in recent years and as football clubs at the heart of our communities, it is important that we do exactly that,” he told The New York Way.

“As a Community Sports Trust our staff and the club’s players come into contact with lots of people who are vulnerable, and it is important to remember that it isn’t just children who need to be safeguarded.

“It is our job to provide education to those people and ensure that they are able to recognise potential concerns. We hold regular committee meetings to study the latest legislation and always try to ensure that we are able to meet good practice measures in our delivery of courses and other community events.

“Each of our supporter-facing departments, which includes the Academy the Community Sports Trust and our retail staff among others, regularly update their training so that we are always able to stay on top of any concerns.

“Just before the pandemic, we implemented an online portal called ‘MyConcern’ which allows different departments to internally discuss potential concerns and how they might or will deal with them.

“The Play Safe campaign is another vitally important one and, especially with some harrowing stories coming out of the football world in recent years, it is critical that we keep doing what we can to stay on top of safeguarding.”

“As a youth team coach, I will be working with my club to ensure we support the Play Safe messaging,” says FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham.

“I am also pleased that the campaign has the support of the former footballers with lived experience of abuse in football, who are on our Survivor Support and Safeguarding Advisory Group. The Group has collectively said:

“Learning from the past is crucial, so that we can prevent the horrific experiences that happened to us and so many others in football, from happening again.

“As a group of survivors, we fully support the ethos and important messages that Play Safe conveys – whether to club officials, parents/carers and or vitally, children and young people themselves. Equally important is that Play Safe is not a one-off campaign – it will be used at key points in the football calendar to remind everyone in football, that children’s welfare and keeping them safe, should be at the heart of all that we do.”

As the Survivor Group points out, you’ll see Play Safe appearing at various points throughout the season to keep safeguarding front of mind in football. Together, we want to do everything we can so everyone – particularly children and young people – has a consistently positive experience of our great game.


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