Coronavirus (COVID-19) and safeguarding in sport

Last updated: 26 Apr 2022 Topics: Safeguarding children

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presented new safeguarding challenges for all those working or volunteering with children. We have compiled safeguarding information for those in the sports sector here.

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Sports Council guidance and support

On the 1 April, the government moved in their 'Living with respiratory infections (inc Covid-19)' phase, in response to the pandemic.

This means there are now no coronavirus-related legal restrictions in place in England and Northern Ireland. However, there are a few remaining restrictions in place in Wales. All forms of activity can take place with no coronavirus-related restrictions on how many people can participate, and all sports facilities can open.

Sport England has created a dedicated section on coronavirus, including links to the latest government guidance and information on returning to play.

Sport Wales has produced a news page on their website outlining the guidance on taking part in sport and exercise in Wales, including details on the reopening of activities.

Sport Northern Ireland's Return to sport page has guidance on indoor and outdoor event. 

Remote coaching

We have safeguarding guidance for sports clubs and organisations taking part in remote coaching with their members. 

This information highlights online safety processes as well as advice for conducting remote training sessions. The information builds on the NSPCC’s safeguarding guidance for schools who have introduced remote teaching.

Virtual classroom

UK Coaching now offer an online virtual classroom version of their existing training course Safeguarding and Protecting Children (SPC). This updated online classroom will raise your awareness of the signs of abuse and provide learners with the tools needed to deal with issues sensitively, appropriately and effectively.

You will learn the importance of person-centred care and taking an individualised approach to your coaching practice, that puts the child or young person at the heart of every session.

For more information, visit UK Coaching

Mental health and wellbeing

The pandemic, restrictions and social distancing measures have placed a number of additional pressures on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They may still be experiencing increased feelings of anxiety, low mood or loneliness and some will need additional support in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Your club or activity can start a conversation about this by signposting young people to specialist information. Such as, Childline's online coronavirus advice or Young Minds' coronavirus and mental health pages

We also have information about mental health and wellbeing in sport looking at some of the ways clubs can create a mentally healthy and safe environment. 

Dr Tim Rogers has produced an article for Sport Resolutions on understanding the effects of COVID-19 upon athlete mental health.

Helplines

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, you can speak to the NSPCC helpline about your concerns on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk 

Please continue to recommend Childline to the young people in your clubs and activities on 0800 1111

Further information

Related information