Children have sporting rights
attended a workshop which explains the terms under which a child should train and compete
In a three-day workshop in Ain El-Sokhna, 20 Egyptian football coaches were taught how to implement child protection measures while training youngsters.
The workshop was part of the Premier Skills Programme, a partnership between the English Premier League and the British Council in Egypt that is delivering community sports development around the world.
In countries around the world Premier League coaches are delivering training that will help Premier Skills participants become multi-skilled community coaches and help develop their own communities.
During the event, the coaches and referees were lectured by both child protection experts and advocates Radwa El-Kadi and Mohamed Marzouk from Rights Consultancy and Training.
"It is very important that football coaches in Egypt learn both the rights of children, coaches and parents during training or competition. Dealing with children is different than dealing with an adult and when we speak about a child here we mean those below 18," explained El-Kadi.
Participants were introduced first to the International Agreement of the United Nations Child's Rights and all the laws and regulations related to child protection in general. Coaches then learned about child's rights while practicing sports and how coaches should treat them and deal with them without hurting them and within the rules and guidelines of child protection.
A workshop followed where the coaches used the UN law as a reference to suggest a sports law for the rights of the child practicing sports.
"We aim at educating the coaches about how to provide children with a safe and secure protection during a training session, a tournament or a match by following a code of conduct for each: coach, referee and child. The most important person here is the child. Most of us are unaware of children rights especially coaches and we need to put an end to the child's sufferings during training. We want him to love the sport not run away from it and while doing so he must be in the best mental and physical condition," explained Marzouk.
Coaches were introduced to the different ways of child abuse -- physical, psychological, sexual, negligence and using them in other ways other than training.
The lectures concluded by identifying the risk assessments that children can face during training, matches, tournaments, a safe goalpost, accidents, photography and emergencies. A workshop followed where the participants applied these risks to the clubs and youth centres and set separate codes of conducts for coaches and parents in order to ensure that the child enjoys a safe sports environment.
"This is my second course and before that I had no idea about a child's rights during training but I have already started implementing it while training the kids at Al-Safaa Club in Giza," said coach Ahmed Gamal.
Wael Antar of Ahli club in Nasr City who trains children between six and 12 said he was unaware there were rights for children while training in football. "The course is really beneficial and now that we have learned how to deal with kids, things we'll become easier for both coach and child," Antar said.
Ekrami El-Gamal, the coach of the Special Olympics Egypt Unified football team and assistant professor at the Faculty of Physical Education, said that his team comprises both intellectually disabled and able-bodied athletes. "I have had courses on how to deal with the special Olympians and now this course has added to my experience."
Following the training, the participants are expected to implement projects which engage young people, including disaffected youth, to develop life skills and tackle a variety of issues in the community, such as health, disability, gender issues, social inclusion and education.
Furthermore, the course enhances the career opportunities of the participants, developing not only coaching skills, but also communication, presentation, team building and leadership skills.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore, has said; "At home the Premier League and our clubs have a long-held commitment and reputation for investing in community and education programmes and given our popularity and success internationally we felt it only right to take this approach to a wider community." In addition, Premier Skills provides a range of resources for learners and teachers of English.
The Child Protection Workshop was one of the courses presented since 2007 in Egypt. During the successful pilot phase in 2007 and 2008, Premier Skills ran in 15 countries around the world, trained 1,000 coaches and reached nearly 300,000 young people.
Three Phase One courses focusing on coaching skills took place in Egypt during this phase: two in Cairo in March 2007 and January 2008 (in the Shooting Club in Dokki), and one in Alexandria in June 2007 (in the Smouha Club). In February 2012, a workshop was held for 53 coaches in the Olympic centre in Maadi along with 33 referees.
The participants were from clubs, youth centres and universities from governorates in Egypt. Priority for selecting participants was given to those who were active in their communities, preferably from under-privileged governorates, with a focus on those from disadvantaged groups such as refugees and disabled leaders. Forty participants took part in each course.
Two further Premier Skills courses in Egypt are planned for 2012Òê"2013 including the Premier Skills coaches' workshop - phase 1: a 5.5 day coaching skills course for 50 participants in Aswan in November 2012; the Premier Skills coaches' workshop - phase 2: a 5.5 day advanced community coaching skills course for 30 participants in Cairo in February 2013; and the Premier Skills referees workshop - phase 2: a 2.5 day advanced refereeing course for 20 participants.