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WELS assists FIFA in creating Safeguarding in Sport Diploma

A football coach is crouched down with a stopwatch in one hand and a blue clipboard in the other. He is observing a football player who is kicking a ball around some cones. We can only see the player's legs and feet. A team from The Open University’s Faculty of WELS and FIFA have today announced the launch of the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma – a major new global education programme designed to strengthen and professionalise safeguarding standards across football.

In line with FIFA’s long-term commitment to professionalise and embed child and adult safeguarding standards across the game, the course is a landmark step in sport and provides the 211 FIFA member associations with a dedicated interactive educational resource to develop safeguarding best practice.

Ben Oakley, Professor of Sports Performance Education in the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport, and lead academic on the project said:

“Together with FIFA and a reference group of safeguarding experts, we have designed a course which can be used across the world and will benefit a wide audience. The Diploma and Award will help build the capacity of those responsible for safeguarding in sports and support a wider cultural change in organisations, highlighting safeguarding as far more than just a compliance activity.

Developed by FIFA, the OU and global safeguarding experts, practitioners and academics in the field, the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma is a complete open learning experience that will be available in English, French and Spanish.

The five online courses will also be open and freely accessible at no cost to other learners that work, volunteer, support or play sports and want to learn more about safeguarding. If all five courses are successfully completed, they will be awarded the FIFA Guardians in Sport Award by the OU.

Professor Oakley added: “We’re thrilled to have worked with FIFA and the wider team on this exciting step towards better safeguarding practice.”

The programme is hosted on OpenLearn Create, an innovative leading open educational platform where individuals and organisations can publish their open content, open courses and resources.

Course one, FIFA Guardians Safeguarding Essentials is available now. For further information, please visit:

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