Witney Vikings Youth Football Club

Safeguarding & Welfare

If you have information of a safeguarding nature where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention call the emergency services on 999.

Safeguarding & Welfare

Our Club Welfare Officers (CWOs) are Mike Witcombe and Joel Floyd who should be contacted for anything to do with safeguarding or player welfare, using the following Safeguarding & Welfare Contact form:

Youth Players’ Code of Conduct

Parents’ Code of Conduct

Coaches’ Code of Conduct

Match Officials’ Code of Conduct

Safeguarding Awareness for Parents & Carers

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility – but are you clear about the vital role you can play?

We strongly encourage all of our players’ parents and carers to complete this FREE and short, 25-30 minute, FA course.

We Take Our Responsibility Seriously

Witney Vikings Youth FC takes its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of every child, young person or vulnerable adult who has been entrusted to its care very seriously. Children and young people are the paramount consideration. All children have the right to take part in sports, and football should always be fun, inclusive and safe for any child. Therefore, the Club’s ethos is important; we believe that football should always be a positive experience, building our children’s confidence, encouraging teamwork and support.

The Club Welfare Officers (CWOs) are responsible for dealing with any report of abuse. This includes protecting children from any kind of abuse including; discrimination, bullying, disability, illness, unethical behaviour, drugs and alcohol, and economic hardship, as they all have an impact on the player.

Child welfare is the responsibility of every adult in the Club, when it comes to protecting children from abuse. The CWOs are there as a first point of contact for any player, parent, coach or volunteer who has concerns.

How does Witney Vikings protect our children?

Firstly, we ensure that all coaches and managers who work with children have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks – there are no exceptions to this rule.

Secondly, we are an England Football Accredited club, which means we must meet the highest safeguarding standards, and this includes each team having at least one FA Level 1 in Coaching qualified coach, and any assistant must be qualified in First Aid and Safeguarding Children. We also have expert coaches and other professionals advising and mentoring the club on a regular basis.

Thirdly, the club takes the FA Respect Campaign very seriously and implements it at all home matches. This is about respecting everyone in the game, and actively tackling the aggressive culture that has marred youth football in the past. This requires everyone to proactively encourage positive behaviours – especially spectators on the touchline, by standing behind the respect barriers, respecting referee decisions and supporting both sides in the spirit of fair play.

Heading in U7-U11 Youth Grassroots Football

FA Statement – 17 May 2024

Heading in U7-U11 youth grassroots football matches is to be phased out over the next three seasons following the IFAB trial.

In 2022, we became the first national association to successfully adopt the International Football Association Board (IFAB) trial to remove deliberate heading in grassroots football matches at U12 level and below.

We first introduced the IFAB trial in England following our steps to bring in heading guidance in youth football in 2020, and then the implementation of heading guidance in training across every level of the professional and amateur game in 2021.

After two seasons of the IFAB trial in English football, we will now introduce a new rule to phase out deliberate heading in matches in all affiliated grassroots youth football between U7-U11 level over the next three seasons. This includes all leagues, clubs and any affiliated school football matches – starting with U7-U9 level from the 2024-25 season, then increasing to include U10 level from 2025-26, and U11 level from 2026-27.

From the start of the 2024/25 season for U7-U9 teams, we will be rolling out deliberate header restarts, touchline restarts and removing sanctions in the event of a deliberate header in a match.

The Full FA Statement – 17 May 2024

To read the full statement and learn how the rule will be implemented, , please click this button:

Coaches Resources

To support coaches with what to do when kids can/can’t head the ball during matches, please click these buttons:

Finally, we must all stay vigilant. Any behaviour which leads to concerns of any sort should be reported to the CWOs. A multi-agency approach is essential in safeguarding and Witney Vikings Youth FC works closely with the Welfare Team at Oxfordshire FA, based in Witney, and also with the Police or other statutory agencies as necessary. Thankfully, most incidents are relatively minor, but please refer to the contact details below if ever needed. The welfare of our children is paramount. It is a core part of Witney Vikings’ ethos that we value fair play over winning and believe in developing the skills of our young players. This depends on all of us adults involved with the club, both to maintain these standards and to ensure that football is played for the right reasons: for the fun of the game, and for the benefit of all the players on the pitch.

Childline is a free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Contact Childline on shirt  0800 1111 or Visit the Childline website
The NSPCC Helpline is a free, 24-hour service which provides advice to anyone worried about a child. shirt  0808 800 5000 or Visit the NSPCC website
Worried about online sexual abuse? Make a report to Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP)
If you have a question about anything to do with safeguarding or player welfare, please talk to Oxfordshire FA’s Education, Safeguarding and Referee Support Manager, Nigel Saverton. He can be contacted on mailsafeguarding@oxfordshirefa.com or shirt 07852 722540