Safeguarding in sports project is initiated by FIFA to promote football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all. Safeguarding young children or in other words, child protection is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children (under the age of 18) and protect them from harm. Children are young, vulnerable and innocent and so it is the duty of the coaches to provide a safe environment, free of threats, fear or obligation at play.
The Bhutan Football Federation has been initiating safe guarding and ‘integrity – doing the right thing’ workshop since December 2020 for players, coaches and referees.
Bhutan Football Federation identified two groups that need safeguarding – children under 18 and youths under the age of 20. These groups must be safeguarded from three main types of harassment – emotional harassment, physical harassment and sexual harassment.
Emotional harassment includes any behaviors that have the effect of psychologically harming children or young persons. This is seen and done in every sports field where the coach mentally exploits young children like instance forcing a child to participate in a game, yelling at a child, giving negative nicknames and ignoring children who perform badly in games. Such things leave a huge impact on young children and affect their relationship with the sport. What used to be a fun football game may turn into a scary nightmare for them because of their coach.
Another form of harassment that is very common in Bhutan is physical harassment. This happens when a non-accidental injury or harm to a child is caused by another person like a parent, coach or caregiver. For example, physical punishing a young person for losing a game by hitting, throwing equipment, pushing or shoving are all examples of physical abuse.
Sexual harassment is the last type of harassment. This includes inappropriate touching/fondling during coaching, using sexually inappropriate languages to a child, sending dirty text messages and sharing rooms with children.
“Integrity – doing the right thing” One of the most fundamental value a referee and coach must possess is integrity. Having integrity means living according to your values and being honest. There are several types of unethical practices performed in sports such as match-fixing which is growing popularity in the South East Asian countries including Bhutan.
Match-fixing in sports is the action or practice of dishonesty determining the outcome of a match before it is played. In the BOB Bhutan Premier League 2020, the Coach of Drukstar Football Club was found match fixing and ruining the careers of the players and the club name. This alarming malpractice was a wakeup call for the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) team and thus huge emphasis is placed on this issue to prevent future match fixings.
The players, referees and coaches were also briefed on where and who to contact if they ever come across such incidences. The confidentially of the reporter would be maintained and protected by the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF). If found guilty, legal action would be taken, the police and the Anti-Corruption would also be involved in such cases. The players and the coaches to kindly cooperate with BFF and practice fair and clean games in their schools.
Lastly, “BE TRUE TO OUR KING, OUR COUNTRY AND OURSELVES BY AVOILDING SUCH UNETHICAL PRACTICES.”
Download Safeguarding Policy. Click Here