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Published 03 October 2023 4 min read

England bosses back Play Safe campaign 2023

Written by:

FA Communications

The Three Lions' manger Gareth Southgate and Lionesses head coach Sarina Wiegman have spoken about the FA's Play Safe campaign for 2023

England’s Sarina Wiegman and Gareth Southgate have backed the FA’s Play Safe campaign for 2023, after signing up to complete the England Football safeguarding awareness course for parents and carers.

The weekend of Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October was the Play Safe Weekend for 2023, with clubs across England from the Premier League and Barclays WSL through to grassroots teams all helping to support and raise awareness around the vital importance of safeguarding across the game.

This year’s campaign focused on the safeguarding role that everyone can play – coaches, players, parents/carers, spectators or volunteers – to keep children and young people safe, no matter what the football setting.

And both Lionesses head coach Wiegman and Three Lions manager Southgate have paid their own tribute to the campaign and education around the matter by taking part in our free online Safeguarding Awareness Course for Parents & Carers.

Our aim is for 100,000 people from across the game to have taken the course, which only takes 30 minutes to complete, by the end of 2024. The free course provides important information that guides parents and carers through questions they should ask to ensure the club or venue where children play football has the correct safeguarding policies, people and practices in place.
Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman has taken our online England Football safeguarding awareness course
Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman has taken our online England Football safeguarding awareness course
“Football can mean so much to young people,” said Wiegman.

“From that simple pleasure of happy times with friends to understanding the value of team work.

“Then there is the healthy side of physical exercise, connecting with other people plus the mental benefits of getting outside in the fresh air.

“When you are coaching children, you need to start with remembering why they love the game and what it means to them.

“And those of us who have a responsibility for others - coaches, teachers or parents - have to provide the perfect environment for them to play.

“We have to think about our behaviour and the impact our words and actions have on those around us. It is a big responsibility.

“A nice word about effort or an encouraging cheer means so much, but it can all be undone in an instant by negativity or a harsh reaction.

“It was good to take the England Football Learning safeguarding awareness course for parents and carers, and to remember just why a positive attitude is so important.”


And Southgate said: “We all start playing football for the love of the game.

“It is about enjoyment, being with your friends and having positive experiences.

“This should remain the case for as long as we continue to kick a ball. Whatever age we are and whatever the situation, football at heart is about having fun.

“But unfortunately, there will be some budding players who have these simple pleasures taken away from them through no fault of their own.

“Being aware of the lasting impact of negative and even abusive behaviour on young people is so important.

“We all know there are pressures at every level of the game, as there is in life in general, but we need to work as hard as we can to allow children to feel free to express themselves.

“It is on all of us to always remember that special moment when we got that first ball as a birthday present or the excitement of watching our idols on TV and running outside in all weathers to copy their moves.

“That’s why I have taken the time to complete the safeguarding awareness course on England Football Learning and supported this year’s Play Safe campaign.”