Create a policy for safe and inclusive sport

A safeguarding policy helps your organisation categorise issues and support and inform all involved parties on how to react if incidents regarding discrimination, bullying or inappropriate behaviour occur.All sports organisations should have a policy that ensures safe and inclusive sports. This policy should describe how to report issues and provide guidance on how to react. 

Ideally, you should have a connection to the national federation, the national sports governing institutions, the national ethics centre for sport (or similar) or other organisations such as Safe Sport International to implement such policies.  

The following principles apply to past, present and future athletes of all ages, abilities, social backgrounds and identities (Source: Safe Sport  International): 

  1. The welfare, safety and rights of all athletes are the central consideration in the administration and delivery of sport. 
  2. All sports organisations work with appropriate partners to prevent and respond to violence against athletes. 
  3. Sports organisations establish and disseminate relevant codes of ethics and conduct that will help prevent breaches of safe sport. 
  4. That all members of the athlete’s entourage, including officials, support staff and sports coaches, leaders and instructors, undergo appropriate education and training about safe practices as a condition of their qualification to operate, including the adoption of  empowerment-based coaching styles 
  5. That all members of the athlete’s entourage, including officials, support staff and sports coaches, leaders and instructors, undergo appropriate background or criminal record checks and provide evidence of these to those responsible for hiring or recruitment 
  6. Educate and inform athletes about their rights and how to report concerns about their own or others’ safety 
  7. Ensure that reports of violence, and actions/practices by anyone in sports compromising the safety of athletes, are treated respectfully and investigated and acted upon promptly by appropriate authorities. 
  8. Offer processes with fair and transparent grievance and disciplinary systems and with precise suspension, sanctions and reinstatement procedures for individuals subject to complaints or allegations 
  9. Use Appropriate technology and communications to supplement support for athletes or anyone wishing to make and pursue a referral about a suspected breach of safe sport. 
  10. All breaches of safe sports are recorded and managed systematically, and use the data to research, evaluate and enhance safe practices. 

The most significant part for such a policy to have a positive impact is: 

  • everyone needs to be aware of it 
  • the physical and mental security of athletes must be the number one priority
  • proper management of cases has to be in place 
  • confidentiality and accessibility for reporting 
  • every case is unique 

For Ultimate players, the World Flying Disc Federation published a Safe Sport policy in 2020. The EUF is reviewing how to implement a system in a continent to create security for everyone.

Important Note 

Creating a policy is important, but it is just the first step. Even more important is to have structures that can handle cases and information with the utmost integrity.  Not having people responsibly take care of raised situations will only deepen the harm and is not helpful for anyone. We want to raise awareness about this, and the EUF is still trying to figure out how to implement it in a meaningful and sustainable way. 

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With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.