The work of Villa Football Club is based on the following principles that will guide the development of sport for young people in this voluntary organisation. Young people’s experience of sport should be guided by what is best for the young person. The stages of development and the ability of the young person should guide the types of activity provided within the group.
Adults will need to have a basic understanding of the needs of young people, including physical, emotional and personal.
Integrity in relationships:
Adults interacting with young people in sport should do so with integrity and respect for the child. There is a danger that sporting contexts can be used to exploit or undermine children. All adult actions in sport should be guided by what is best for the child and in the context of quality, open working relationships. Verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of any kind is unacceptable within sport.
Quality atmosphere and ethos:
Sport for young people should be conducted in a safe, positive and encouraging atmosphere. A child-centered ethos will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.
All children should be treated in an equitable and fair manner regardless of age, ability, sex, religion, social and ethnic background or political persuasion. Children with disability should be involved in sports activities in an integrated way, thus allowing them to participate to their potential alongside other children.
Fair play is the guiding principle of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport. All children’s sport should be conducted in an atmosphere of fair play. Ireland has
contributed and is committed to the European Code of Sports Ethics, which defines fair play as: “much more than playing within the rules”. It incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing with the right spirit. Fair play is defined as a way of thinking, not just behaving. It incorporates issues concerned with the elimination of opportunities, excessive commercialisation and corruption. (European Sports Charter and Code of Ethics, Council of Europe, 1993).
A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the development of young people, while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. However, often competitive demands are placed on children too early, which results in excessive levels of pressure on them. This can contribute to a high level of drop out from sport. Leaders will aim to put the welfare of the child first and competitive standards second. A child-centred approach will help to ensure that competition and specialisation are kept in their appropriate place.