The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) at the United Kingdom's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has received the 2014 UEFA Monaco Charity Award.
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The 2014 UEFA Monaco Charity Award will support crucial work in child protection in sport. UEFA President Michel Platini presented the €1m cheque to Anne Tiivas, director of the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) at the United Kingdom's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), on Thursday in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The NSPCC's CPSU works to ensure that children understand their rights in sport. The issues that sport has to deal with range from serious cases of sexual abuse to day-to-day poor treatment of children that happens through a culture that does not listen to their voices or prioritise their interests. The organisation's work with 200 national governing bodies in sport and sports partnerships provides services to 10 million children participating in sport in the UK.
Michel Platini said: "Every year the Monaco Award donates €1m to a deserving sporting organisation or charity in order to help support and advance their mission. UEFA believes all children, no matter what their social status or where they live, should have a chance to play football. The important work by the NSPCC guarantees the basic requirement for this, a safe environment to allow children to enjoy sport. The NSPCC has worked tirelessly to end cruelty to children and hopefully this donation will help its cause significantly. Congratulations – we are sure this work will continue to make a difference to the lives of many children."
The UEFA Monaco Charity Award will be used to increase the availability and awareness of the services that the NSPCC's CPSU offers to children and parents in sport. It will also disseminate the NSPCC's campaign with European and international sports organisations, and advise on good practice and effective approaches to keeping children safe in sport.
"We are immensely pleased to receive this award," said Anne Tiivas. "The UEFA Monaco Charity Award will allow us to build on the work we have done with children, parents and everybody involved in football to create the best possible football environment for our children.
"The kind of problems that football experiences are essentially the same as other sports, but there are some things that happen in football, or are more prevalent in football, that we've worked with them to try and address. One of the things that football has prioritised has been the touchline behaviour of parents.
"We all know that we want to see our children excel in sport, but for five-year-olds, perhaps the ambitions for their children to be the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo can be a little bit excessive for that age group. So one of the things that we do is work with football to try and ensure that we can try and improve parents' behaviour, and their understanding of the impact of their behaviour on their children."
Graeme Le Saux, English Football Association (FA) inclusion advisory board member, said: "Being able to play football in a safe environment is a fundamental right for a child. In football we all have a responsibility towards children, whether it be at grassroots level or all the way up into the elite game.
"Both UEFA and the FA with their Respect campaigns are doing fantastic work in breaking down barriers between different people's attitudes and what we expect of them within the context of football. It's a long process of educating people. If that education delivers a consistent message over a period of time and then deals with specific issues within that message, we all have the chance of improving and continuing to improve equality in the sport that we all love."
The NSPCC's CPSU works with 200 national sport governing bodies and county sports partnerships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This has led to a change in culture, with policies and procedures to ensure children are protected and their voices are heard in the organisation. The FA has worked with the NSPCC for 15 years. This cooperation has resulted in a specific safeguarding course, approved by the NSPCC and CPSU, and mandatory for people who work in football with the FA. Since 1999, 450,000 people have been trained through FA safeguarding children programmes.