The YEL Traffic Light system explained


The vast majority of youngsters simply want to play football and enjoy themselves.

They don’t want to hear adults telling them what to do; They don’t want to feel the adults are playing the game for them; They don’t want to hear parents moaning when they or the referee make mistakes; They don’t want to see or hear adults shouting abuse at them, the other players or the referee; They don’t want to see adults being confrontational or displaying undesirable behaviour.

Let them play; Let them make mistakes; Let them learn; Let them have fun; Let their lifelong memories be created for all the right reasons;

It’s their childhood; Their game; Their enjoyment – Simple!


There are important safeguarding and welfare issues to consider not just from when your players arrive at training, during training and when they finish. Watch this really useful video from the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) at the NSPCC.


The YEL’s executive team is led by Chief Executive, Robert Harwood, who has outstanding credentials and working knowledge in both sport and business. His passion for promoting fairness and respect at every level of development is well documented.


Click the video image to find out how criticism and abuse of children, either players or referees, can have a massive impact. ‘My Child – The Referee‘ is a true story showing everyone, particularly adults who should know better, the devasting effect on one young referee



At this level, EVERY child should be getting equal playing time when the matches are played. This is an FA guideline which every club and team should be putting into practise as this is one of the key ways a child can develop. Have a word with your coach and if this fails speak to the Club Welfare Officer.

Sadly, this does happen. There are some people who just see a black shirt and ignore the fact that it may be a child. They seem to think because they are the referee, it is OK to abuse them. It is not acceptable. You can either speak to the person concerned and suggest that the referee is still learning just like the players or make detailed notes and report it to your Club Welfare Officer. The league has a zero tolerance policy towards abuse of referees and teams will face Special General Meetings to have them removed from the league if their adults or players display persistent undesirable behaviour.

Speak to the manager of the team and ask if there is a reason why your child does not get equal playing time. You may also wish to contact the Club Welfare Officer and Football Development Officer at the club (if there is one) and ask them for advice on how this can be dealt with.

The wellbeing of young players should always be a priority for managers. From a safeguarding/welfare point of view they should be asking themselves a number of key questions including whether the players will enjoy the session; Are they appropriately dressed for the weather conditions; Is the surface safe to be training on etc. If you have major concerns, contact your Club Welfare Officer for advice

If you are associated with a club, report it immediately to your Club Welfare Officer giving precise details of the incident including the date, time, location, details of what was said/done and anyone else who was present and witnessed the incident. If you are unable to locate your CWO, contact the County FA Safeguarding Officer and/or the Police/NSPCC if you are under the age of 18.

Contact your Club Welfare Office giving full details of all incidents. If you are unable to contact your CWO, contact your local County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer – email addresses for all DSOs are on the local County FA Websites



That’s the same whether on the pitch or side of the pitch, at the training ground or in the stands. The FA take any news of discrimination in football extremely seriously. If you report it, The FA will act promptly and respond appropriately.

Everything you tell The FA is treated in strict confidence. You talk, The FA listen, The FA act.

What are the types of discrimination you can report to The FA?

Discriminatory abuse can be a negative reference to any one or more of the following ‘protected characteristics’, covered by the Equality Act 2010:

– Age

– Disability

– Gender reassignment

– Marriage and civil partnership

– Pregnancy and maternity

– Race

– Religion and belief

– Sex (gender)

– Sexual orientation

Tell The FA, they’ll tackle it

If you’ve seen or heard discrimination in football, please follow the link below

Contact details for Designated Safeguarding Officers for local County FAs

Derbyshire FA

Name: Jenny Blewitt
Position: Designated Safeguarding Officer
T: 01332 261422
M: 07507 427548

Leicestershire & Rutland County FA

Name: Emma Haywood
Position: Designated Safeguarding Officer
T: 0116 286 7828

Nottinghamshire FA

Name: Rachael Wilks
Position: Designated Safeguarding Officer
T: 0115 983 7400
M: 07415 238880

Lincolnshire FA

Name: Sarah Pridmore
Position: Designated Safeguarding Officer
T: 01522 596583
M: 07973 666778