- Over 10,000 young footballers given access to the anonymous reporting app
- Agreement comes after revelations of widespread historical child abuse in football
- Junior Premier League aspires to be the safest football league and sports organisation in the world
A new initiative hopes to tackle the issue of bullying in football, as over 10,000 young footballers across the country will be able to report concerns, abuse and racism, as part of the Junior Premier League’s new agreement with tootoot sport.
From 1st June, players will be given free access to tootoot’s award-winning anti-bullying and reporting app, where they can have anonymous and confidential conversations with child welfare staff at the Junior Premier League. A series of education workshops will also accompany the roll-out so players are confident on how to use the platform.
The announcement follows a number of serious historic accusations of child abuse in football, with many victims not speaking out about their ordeals until many years later, and a current lack of awareness about how to report any concerns. Analysis by the Junior Premier League identified that the majority of young players are not aware of their club’s Child Welfare Officer. The Junior Premier League and tootoot want to encourage players to report all forms of inappropriate behaviour so that mistakes of the past are not repeated.
Launched in September 2015, tootoot was conceived by CEO and co-founder Michael Brennan, following his experience of bullying and cyber-bullying while at school. The app has already been used by over a quarter of a million young people, across 650 UK schools. Whilst issues reported on tootoot will continue to go through FA safeguarding procedures, it is hoped the confidential nature of the conversation will make players more confident to share their concerns, and remove any fears that they might risk their place in their team or club.
Martin Brock, Chairman at the Junior Premier League, said:
“Sport has many great ideas on how to tackle abuse and respect issues, but sadly most the safety procedures are designed by adults to protect adults. Tootoot allows us to put into the palm of each young player a mechanism for them to anonymously highlight any bad behaviour they encounter, and when necessary, immediately intervene.
“Sadly recent events in the news have highlighted that where young people are involved there will be a minority who will exhibit poor behaviour. Being the father of an autistic child, I see clearly how vulnerable children are and want to do everything I can to make sure that no child in the Junior Premier League is ever abused. No child should suffer and we will do whatever we can to make the Junior Premier League the safest place in the world for a kid to play football.”
Michael Brennan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at tootoot, said:
“We were all shocked to see the scale of the abuse in football, and together with the Junior Premier League, we are passionate that all children should be protected from abuse when playing the sport that they love.
“Since our launch in September 2015, tootoot has already saved lives, helping over a quarter of a million children in schools and sports clubs across the UK. We look forward to working closely with the Junior Premier League to ensure that players confidently use the app to report their concerns, and action can be taken should an investigation or referral be required. All children should be given the protection and support they require to fulfil their potential.”
For more details go to www.tootoot.co.uk