BC-SOC--FIFA-Child Safeguarding,135

FIFA launches program to safeguard children from abuse

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FIFA has launched a program teaching soccer bodies worldwide how to safeguard children from abuse. FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura says it "has a duty and responsibility to ensure that those who play football can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment." The FIFA Guardians program follows a series of criminal convictions in England of men who coached and sexually abused young boys over decades.

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has launched a program teaching soccer bodies worldwide how to safeguard children from abuse.

FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura says it "has a duty and responsibility to ensure that those who play football can do so in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment."

The FIFA Guardians program follows a series of criminal convictions in England of men who coached and sexually abused young boys over decades.

FIFA's program was developed with the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF. It will train officials with specific duties in the 211 member federations, working with continental governing bodies.

National soccer federations will be trained in "reviewing their existing safeguarding measures, to help prevent any risk of harm to children in football, and to appropriately respond if concerns arise."

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