Football Chiefs To Be Quizzed By MSPs On Child Protection Measures

5 September 2017, 05:27

Football

MSPs will quiz football association bosses on progress to improve child protection in the sport when they return to Holyrood today.

Representatives from the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and the Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA) will appear before the Health and Sport Committee.

The committee has been looking into child protection in sport in the wake of allegations of historical child sexual abuse in football.

Its report, published in April, raised concerns about a backlog of Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks waiting to be carried out on coaches and officials working with young players in the game.

The committee said the current system may not be preventing unsuitable people from doing regulated work with children and called for urgent action to strengthen the scheme.

It said it could not be sure that the SYFA had been truthful in relation to the size of their backlog for checks and accused the SFA of complacency in this area.

Committee convener Neil Findlay said members were seeking assurances the concerns outlined in the report have been addressed.

"Proper safeguards must be in place to minimise risk for children participating in sport and more work is needed to bring the PVG scheme up to standard," he said.

"We look forward to hearing from the SFA and the SYFA on what progress has been made since the last session and safeguards they have in place to stop this from happening again".

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, SFA chief operating officer Andrew McKinlay, SYFA chairman John McCrimmond and Duncan Mayze, SYFA director of finance, are due to appear.

In a letter to the committee ahead of today's meeting, Mr Regan said the SFA expected the final phase of an independent inquiry into abuse in football to be concluded in September.

The letter also noted that work had been undertaken with the SYFA to tackle the backlog of PVG checks while the SFA is "working hard in a number of different areas to address concerns" ... with a "number of positive developments over the last year in particular".