In December 2022, the Albanian Football Association (AFA) in partnership with Terre des hommes Albania organised a training session on “Child Safeguarding in Football”. Since a long time, the AFA has been committed to developing and implementing its policies for the protection and preservation of the safety of children in football, also based on the guidelines of UEFA and FIFA.
In this context, the Association organised the first three-day training session attended by representatives of various departments of AFA as well as by the representatives of regional football associations from all over the country, who work with children every day. Throughout this process, AFA received the support of the well-known international organisation Terre des hommes. The Member of the Executive Committee of the AFA, Mrs. Anila Basha, and the Head of Country Office of Terre des hommes Albania, Mrs. Enkelejda Kallçiu, were present on the first day of the training.
During her speech, Mrs. Basha highlighted the sensitivity of the child safeguarding issue, which is why the Federation consider it as a matter of high priority.
“Our commitment as AFA is at the maximum level towards this issue and we must do our best to improve the policies on child protection in football. This three-day training session is a very important step because it contributes to a better implementation of the child protection policies already drafted by the Albanian Football Association. When children play football, they should feel safe, happy, and engaged. We know that the coach plays a very important role to create a safe environment for all the children engaged in everyday situations on the football field. This is what is called “child protection”, and it is an aspect that FIFA, UEFA, and each football association around the world are paying more and more attention to. As a coach or representative of a regional association who works with children every day, you are expected not only to be professional and responsible, but also a model to follow. Children see you as a role model, whether as a football coach or as a person. Along with this role comes a great responsibility, as well.” – said Mrs. Basha.
Mrs. Valmira Greca, Case Management Officer and Country Focal Point for Child Safeguarding issues at Terre des hommes Albania, emphasized that the training comes as a result of the good cooperation with the AFA. She explained that during the three-day training a particular focus will be on presenting key procedures and policies to ensure the protection and safety of children in football.
“This training comes thanks to the cooperation of the Albanian Football Federation with Terre des hommes Albania, having the main goal of ensuring a safe environment for children in football. Considering that Terre des hommes’ mission is to improve children’s well-being and ensure the protection of their rights, this cooperation is very important to also reach sports activities where children are involved.
This training is one of the key steps towards preventing harmful situations that can occur during various sports activities. Also, we will pay special attention to presenting the main procedures and policies regarding child protection in football.
The three-day training with the focal points responsible for child protection at the regional level, who have been appointed by the AFA, is in line with the measures that UEFA has taken to ensure child protection in football.
The policy of the Albanian Football Association along with other mechanisms, which have been drafted recently, are very important to promote child safeguarding and ensure the prevention of potential cases of child abuse in sports,” – said Mrs. Greca in a statement for Fshf.org.
During the training, the participants received detailed information on the current situation and were introduced to the child protection policies. The officials and coaches appointed by the AFA will act as focal points for the regional areas and the departments they cover. They will be in direct contact with the people involved in the activities, who might be players, parents, coaches or other staff.
Another important purpose of the training session was to build the capacities of all the participants to play a role in training other focal points in subsequent phases of the training programme.
Through this training programme, the goal of the AFA, in cooperation with Terre des hommes, is to raise awareness and inform as many members of the football community as possible about the protection and preservation of children's safety.