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Football can have a very powerful and positive influence on people – particularly children and young people.

It provides them with an opportunity to experience fun and achievement. Football also has the capacity to develop fundamental personal qualities and abilities such as respect, leadership, team-work and confidence.

However, children and young people can only experience the positive effects of football if the environment in which they play and learn is safe, secure and free from abuse and harm.

The welfare of children and young people is paramount to the Irish Football Association. We endeavour to provide an environment which values and protects all children and young people, in all aspects and at every level of football in Northern Ireland.

The Irish FA seeks to safeguard children and young people by:

  • Recognising and communicating to all staff, volunteers and officials that children have the right to enjoy and participate in football free from all forms of abuse and harm
  • Resourcing safeguarding and player welfare services appropriately
  • Following carefully the procedures for recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers and providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training
  • Overseeing vetting checks for all volunteers from affiliated bodies and football clubs who have entered into the appropriate Service Level Agreement. Guidance on recruitment decisions is available as and when required 
  • Disseminating the required code of behaviour for everyone involved in Association programmes
  • Sharing information about safeguarding best practice with everyone involved in Association programmes
  • Educating staff, volunteers and officials about the signs of abuse and how to respond and report appropriately
  • As set out in the Corporate Risk Register respond promptly to 100% safeguarding issues raised, in a confidential manner and in line with statutory and Association guidelines
  • Sharing information about risks, issues and concerns with safeguarding agencies that need to know, and involving children and young people and their parents or guardians if appropriate
  • Reviewing the Irish FA’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures every three years to ensure it reflects current statutory and Association requirements

Download the Irish Football Association Safeguarding Children and Young People in Football App here

For any further information please contact: 

Kevin Doyle, Safeguarding Service Delivery Manager.

Email: Kevin.doyle@irishfa.com

Tel: 02890 669458 / 07889057992

You can download the Safeguarding app here: iTunes  Google


Access NI – Vetting Checks


As a governing body, the Irish FA recognises its responsibility to support all football clubs and affiliated bodies to recruit and select suitable volunteers and coaches.

The Irish FA acts as an umbrella body for Access NI overseeing vetting checks for all volunteers from affiliated bodies and football clubs who are engaging in a regulated activity.

Access NI FAQS


How often should I make an application?

How do you apply for an Access NI check?

What happens after I submit my application?


Want to attend a Safeguarding Course? Fill in the form below to register interest in your area.