The safeguarding programme is in place
The safeguarding programme is in place Image Credit: AFC

Dubai: The UAE Pro League has become the first governing body in the Middle East to launch a pioneering ‘Child Safeguarding’ programme aimed at ensuring children can enjoy their right to play football in a safe and inclusive environment

The initiative is part of the UAE Pro League’s commitment to promoting and protecting the safety and welfare of children, in line with FIFA’s stated objective to ensure that involvement in football, in any form, is a positive experience for all children.

Set to be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre (MOI CPC) and by working in alignment with the AFC and Fifa, the UAE Pro League’s safeguarding initiative targets four core objectives, namely implementing safeguarding measures to create a safe football environment for children, facilitate the reporting of concerns, ensuring swift investigation of concerns and increasing awareness of children safety and protection within clubs.

Waleed Al Hosani, CEO of the UAE Pro League
Waleed Al Hosani, CEO of the UAE Pro League Image Credit: Supplied

Waleed Al Hosani, CEO of the UAE Pro League, expressed his delight with the launch of the programme. “Child protection and welfare have always been a priority for the UAE’s leadership, and it is our role to work with organisations such as Fifa, the AFC, UAE FA and the Ministry of Interior to ensure children of the UAE are safeguarded within the football environment,” Al Hosani said.

“At the UAE Pro League, we intend to be a leading light in Asia by adopting a clear policy in safeguarding our children, and that’s 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.”

Dato’ Windsor John, AFC General Secretary, congratulated the UAE Pro League: “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. We congratulate them and wish them the very best of success with their ground-breaking safeguarding initiatives that provide a strong lead for many other Member Associations and Leagues in Asia.”

Joyce Cook, Fifa Chief Social Responsibility and Education Officer shared her support. “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 Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre to roll out safeguarding training to all clubs in the country,” she said.