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Policy for Preventing Abuse of Trust

The Football Association of Wales has introduced this Policy for preventing the abuse of trust as a clear sign that it is determined that everyone involved in football, including children, young people and adults at risk, can participate at all levels in a safe and supportive environment.

The Policy establishes the Football Association of Wales’ position, roles and responsibilities and together with the Welfare Policy and Welfare Procedures and Practices (available at, clarifies what is expected of other individuals and organisations involved in football.



The FAW recognises its responsibility towards children, young people and ‘adults at risk’ (**) to protect them against sexual activity or abuse within ‘relationships of trust’ (*). As part of the FAW’s commitment to providing good quality football in a safe environment, it has introduced this Policy which covers the relationships between participants, officials, coaches, volunteers and paid employees.

The aims of the FAW Prevention of Abuse of Trust Policy are:

  • To establish an effective system to ensure that all those in a position of trust are aware of their responsibilities to protect those who are deemed to be vulnerable from an unequal and potentially damaging relationship.
  • To establish an effective system to ensure that those in a position of trust do not put themselves in a position where allegations of abuse, whether or not these allegations are justified, can be made.
  • To ensure high standards of behaviour by all those involved in all aspects of football.
  • To ensure everyone who enjoys football in Wales is protected from physical or verbal harassment and abuse.


The key principles underpinning this Policy are:

  • All children, young people and adults at risk, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender reassignment, language, marital or parental status, race, religion or belief, sexy or sexual orientation have the right to protection from sexual activity or abuse from those working with them in a relationship of trust.
  • All incidents of suspicious poor practice and allegations of sexual abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • Confidentiality of all parties will be respected within the bounds of the law.
  • Pre-existing sexual relationships should be ended before a sports relationship, for example, between a coach and a participant commences, OR the sexual relationship should be ended before the sports relationship commences.
  • The above principles apply to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion or disability​​.


In order to ensure that all members, officials, voluntary or paid workers, players and participants are protected from sexual abuse, exploitation, harassment and harm, inside or outside of the Association, the FAW will:

  • Implement procedures to provide protection to children, young people and adults at risk from sexual activity or abuse from those with whom they have a relationship of trust.
  • Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children, young people and adults at risk.
  • Recruit, train and supervise its employees and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children, young people and adults at risk from sexual abuse and adhere to safe working practices.
  • Support anyone within the organisation who raises concerns about the behaviour of another in the organisation who is in a position of trust.
  • Respond to any allegations appropriately and implement the appropriate investigations process, safeguarding measures and disciplinary and appeals procedures.
  • Require that all coaches, officials and volunteers be aware of the potential for the development of a relationship of trust between themselves and children, young people, adults at risk in football and the consequences of the accidental or intentional abuse of that relationship.
  • Require that coaches demonstrate proper personal behaviour and conduct at all times and encourage children, young people and adults at risk to display the same qualities.


All adults have a responsibility to report any concerns they have if they suspect that abuse is taking place. Physical and behavioural signs that might raise concerns include:

Physical Abuse (e.g. hitting, shaking, squeezing, biting, burning). In football, this may result if the nature of intensity of training is inappropriate for the player; or where drugs or alcohol (specifically under 18s) are advocated or tolerated.

Sexual Abuse (e.g. any form of sexual behaviour between an adult and a young person, or the use of pornographic material). In football, this may be the result of coaches or older players involving young / disabled players in any form of sexual activity (e.g. sexual language, touching or relationships).

Emotional Abuse (e.g. wherever there is any form of abuse as well as the withholding of love or affection, overprotection, frequent use of shouting or taunts). In football this may occur if players are subject to constant criticism, bullying (by coach, parents or peers), taunting to unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectation.

Neglect (e.g. failure to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment). Neglect in football could include a teacher or coach not ensuring children were safe, exposing them to undue cold, heat or unnecessary risk of injury.


  • Unexplained bruising or injuries and reluctance to talk about them.
  • Unexplained changes in behaviour – becoming aggressive, withdrawn or unhappy.
  • Something said by a player who may identify a coach as a trusted person with whom to share concerns.
  • A change observed over a long period of time (e.g. the person losing weight or becoming increasingly dirty or unkempt).
  • Sexually explicit behaviour and language.


* A ‘relationship of trust’ is defined as any in which a person has power or influence over and/or is in a position to confer advancement or failure. A sexual relationship is deemed to be intrinsically unequal within such a relationship of trust and is therefore judged as unacceptable, even where the young person or participant is above the legal age of consent. Brackenridge,C.H. and Fasting, K. (1999) An Analysis of Codes of Practice for Preventing Sexual Harassment and Abuse to Women and Children in Sport. Council of Europe Sports Division.

**   An ‘Adult at risk’ is someone aged 18 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. ‘A Vulnerable person’ is any adult at risk or the weaker party in a relationship of trust.​​​​​​

First Published

08 September 2020

Last Updated

03 November 2022

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