The Football Association’s Child Protection in Football Research Project 2002–2006: Rationale, design and first year results

Celia Brackenridge (Lead Author), Joy D. Bringer, Claudi Cockburn, Gareth Nutt, Andy Pitchford, Kate Russell, Zofia Pawlaczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In common with most sport organizations, the English Football Association has come relatively recently to the issue of child protection. Abuses of various kinds have been known about in the sport for many years but, until the late 1990s, very little systematic work was undertaken to address them. The launch of a Child Protection Strategy by the English FA in May 2000 reflected recognition by those in authority within the sport that child abuse and protection were properly
the subject of football policy and should become embedded in all aspects of the affiliated game. In addition to adopting child protection, the then-Chief Executive Officer of the FA made a commitment to evidence-based policy in his strategic plan for the game. In line with this commitment, the FA commissioned a 5 year study of the impact of child protection on the game, the first year of which constituted an audit of the state of child protection in the affiliated game. Data were collected through 11 internet surveys, 32 club case studies, over 200 interviews with various stakeholders and an analysis of 132 case files for child abuse referrals. This paper sets out the context of child protection in sport more generally and the background to the FA’s child protection research project in particular. It also presents selected first year results for key stakeholder groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalManaging Leisure
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Football
  • child protection (policy and practice)
  • Research Design

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