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FIFA unveils programme to keep Nigerian players, others safe

FIFA has unveiled a programme to educate Nigeria Football Federation and other member associations about how to properly handle player harassment and abuse.

The program, is an extension to FIFA Guardians, an initiative announced after the 2019 Women’s World Cup to ensure player safety.

FIFA has aimed the five-part course, FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma, at player safety officers across its 211 member associations, although aspects of the course – developed in conjunction with the Open University – will be made available to everyone, including other sports federations.

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“Anyone who plays football, or indeed any sport, is entitled to enjoy it in a safe and supportive environment that, first and foremost, protects their well-being, especially where children are concerned. This is the objective of the FIFA Guardians Programme,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

“Football is taking another important step in delivering on this objective, as well as on FIFA’s pledge to embed safeguarding measures across our game.”

The announcement of the education program – in which FIFA has invested $1 million ($A1.3m) – comes in the wake of disturbing allegations of systematic sexual abuse of players in Haiti.

FIFA detailed the allegations earlier this month.

The FIFA ethics committee said Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haitian soccer federation for 20 years, allegedly raped girls as young as 14 and took “habitual mistresses” among players. Jean-Bart was banned from soccer for life in November.

The FIFA program also addresses physical abuse and other forms of harassment.

So far 160 federations are lined up to take part in the courses which will start next month.

Agents who work with young people will also be required to complete the first course, at minimum.

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