Case Study: Safeguarding in Sport

April 19, 2023
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In 2022, we launched our Safeguarding in Sport course, which was created in partnership with former England, Manchester city, Liverpool and Tottenham footballer Paul Stewart.


Paul Stewart is an English former professional footballer who played top-division football for Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool. He is also a safeguarding advocate who provides safeguarding training for organisations such as the English Football League (EFL), using his own experience as an example – Paul was abused by his coach for four years up to the age of 15.

Abuse in grassroots sports is a topic which is very much in the spotlight, following many high profile sports players such as Paul revealing their own experiences of mistreatment in their club as a child. Paul worked with our in-house experts to create the only survivor-led safeguarding course aimed at sports clubs.

As part of our commitment to be a force for good, and to ensure that as many people as possible could access this vital knowledge, we have made this course free to all grassroots sports clubs in the UK. To date, the free course has been taken over 2,300 times.

Backed by sporting figures such as Gary Lineker, rugby league giant Kevin Sinfield, former England and British Lions great Brian Moore, Olympic medalist Marilyn Okoro and Ryder Cup golfer Ian Poulter, the course provides sports coaches, parents and volunteers with the tools to be able to confidently identify and prevent abusive behaviours in grassroots sports, as well as understanding and implementing the recommended safeguarding procedures.

Paul, who scored for Tottenham in the 1991 FA Cup Final, has been open about his own experiences of abuse in sports as a child and was one of the first players to come forward in 2016 with details of historical abuse at the hands of a youth team coach. 

Paul Stewart said: “I am delighted that, by working with High Speed Training, I have been able to produce a survivor-led safeguarding course that I absolutely believe can make a difference.

The support we have received has been incredible and I will be forever grateful to the people and organisations involved. It is an emotional subject, both for me and for others who have been affected. I am sure the course will have a lasting impact on those who take it.

Everyone involved in all sports and physical activity settings with children and young people should have an awareness of these issues. We all know the benefits of playing sports for young people, and making sure that our children are safe whilst enjoying sports has to be the number one priority.

Now the course is free to grassroots clubs, it is my hope that all adults will take the course and share what they have learned.”

Alexandra Richards, Head of Safeguarding at the English Football League, said:The EFL are delighted to support this Safeguarding in Sport course and it is great to see the free initiative being made available to other organisations. We made the training available to all of our 72 member Clubs because it is unique in the fact that it is survivor-led and covers all the essentials needed for any role on the basics of safeguarding. 

The work Paul is doing with High Speed Training to ensure all children are safe at their clubs is outstanding and we will continue to support the wonderful work they are doing.”

Tajean Hutton, Grassroots Manager at Kick It Out says: “This is a great course, which we are proud to support at Kick It Out. We hear of several abuse related cases in grassroots sport every year, which is why courses like this are important to help educate those working at clubs, so they can better support young people and participants. 

The more we can do to identify and prevent abuse at a grassroots level, the more inclusive and inviting sport will become.”

To learn more about the free Safeguarding in Sport course, click here.

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