The Football Association (FA) is set to issue ?revised? guidelines after its child protection advice reportedly led a referee to ban parents taking photographs of players.
The fiasco, which arose in response to fears over paedophiles, has sparked confusion over the rights of parents, and other spectators taking pictures at under-18 football matches.
The under-15?s match, which featured Ashford Borough FC v Folkestone Invicta FC, was stopped three times, according to an article published in the Times on 17 October, two days after the game.
The newspaper report claimed that the referee threatened to seize spectators? cameras and told parents that they could only take pictures if they had written permission from every player on the pitch. Eventually, the referee ? who we understand had recently attended an FA child protection course – apparently told the crowd he would abandon the match if anyone took any more shots.
FA spokesman Alex Stone admitted that the referee may have acted a ?bit too stringently? in applying the FA?s ?guidelines?, which he stressed are not ?rules?. He told AP: ?If you want to take photos of your children at a match that shouldn?t cause the abandonment of the match. You do not need to get written permission from every single parent.?
The FA?s head of Media Andrin Cooper added: ?Parents are not banned from photographing their children playing football – we simply issue some commonsense guidelines for clubs and parents to strike the balance between safeguarding children and allowing them and their parents to enjoy their involvement in the game.?
We can exclusively report that, on 24 October, the FA is set to hold talks focusing on the implementation of ?revised? guidelines.
A senior source within the FA?s Child Protection department told AP?s news editor Chris Cheesman: ?The football family ? that is ourselves and the professional game ? wanted to make sure that we have real clarity, that goes across football, to dispel the myths and a lot of misconceptions that exist.?
However, the source refused to be drawn on the contents of the new guidelines.
? A full report will appear in next week’s issue of AP, in shops on Tuesday 31 October and available to subscribers from Saturday 28 October