Roots to Grow & Wings to Fly
Norman Brook has been busy working on a project this year with FIFA that will result in the production of guidelines on Safeguarding and Player Care for Football Academies around the world. Norman is working on this project with Mathilde Grenet from En Garde who is based in Switzerland. Together, Norman and Mathilde were asked to present on the project at the first ever FIFA Guardians Summit which took place at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on the 25-26 October 2023.
More than 100 FIFA learners from 70 Member Associations graduated from the FIFA Safeguarding in Sport Diploma including FIFA Council Member Johanna Wood. Norman Brook was pleased to meet in person many of the graduates that he had interacted with during the online course as a course moderator and assessor.
When presenting the FIFA Safeguarding project for Academies, Norman Brook referenced German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832) who coined the phrase: "Children only need two things from their parents: roots and wings.“
When football academies and their staff step into the parental role (in loco parentis) they assume a duty of reasonable care to the academy players which suggests words such as protection, support, reliability and aspiration.
Norman Brook asked where will our young players fly to if only a small portion of them will have a career as a professional footballer and for those that do what is often a short career. He stressed that Academies should provide the foundations not just for those players who will have football careers but also for those who will not have a career in the sport, preparing all players for life beyond football.