Sport is the most popular activity undertaken by children and young people in every European member state, however, young athletes can be very vulnerable.

The Pro Safe Sport for Young Athletes (PSS) project aimed to remove threats to young people’s physical and moral wellbeing, and promote a safe and healthy sports environment, by designing resources and guidance for sports organisations. As Project Co-ordinator Michael Trinker explains, it has already been very successful:

The resources produced as a result of the project continue to be used by our partner organisations, providing a platform and network for safe sport. Sport organisations including the International Olympic Committee have asked for, and been granted, the rights to use PSS products.

PSS involved 16 organisations from ten countries, including representatives from public bodies and private sport organisations. They researched concerns specific to young athletes, including sexual abuse, unhealthy coach/athlete relationships, bullying, match fixing, fair play, and the risk of burnout. They produced an online toolkit providing guidance for sport organisations, coaches, athletes, parents and other stakeholders, as well as practical tools and tips.

The toolkit includes a constantly reviewed set of principles and benchmarks for a safe and healthy sports environment, against which performance can be measured. Organisations are encouraged to design their own Pro Safe Sport strategy based on these principles.

Funding from the EU also allowed the team to hold conferences and to deliver vital training to organisations who will use PSS resources and implement its strategies going forward. As well as the obvious benefits to young athletes, Pro Safe Sport strategies mean organisations can position themselves clearly, remain proactive and vigilant, and be recognised for their efforts.

Key facts and figures

  • Project title: Pro Safe Sport for Young Athletes - PSS
  • Lead organisation: Council of Europe (EPAS - Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport)
  • Location: Council of Europe (EPAS - Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport)
  • Duration: 2014-2015
  • EU grant: €220,000

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Photo: © Michael Trinker, 2016