On 9 February 2023, the Albanian Football Association (AFA) and Terre des hommes Albania (Tdh) signed a cooperation agreement in the field of child protection in football, in line with UEFA's initiative to develop national child protection policies for each of its 55 members. The agreement comes as a continuation of the previous collaboration to improve the quality of child protection in football, including Tdh's contribution to the drafting of two important documents of the AFA: the child protection policy in football and the code of ethics.
As part of the agreement, Terre des hommes Albania, with 30 years of experience in the field of child protection, will provide consultancy and 'know how' through training programmes to create a safer space for children and youth in football.
In her speech during the signing ceremony, Mrs. Enkelejda Kallçiu, the Head of the Country Office of Tdh Albania, said: "We are here to provide long-term support to the Albanian Football Association in matters of the protection of children and young people who play football. We, as Terre des hommes, working a lot in the field with vulnerable target groups, manage to see daily the values that sport brings to young people's lives as a good opportunity for their social, physical, and educational development. The AFA has already set up its mechanism and has determined the responsible people who will be at the national, local, and regional level as a key contact for the policy of child protection in football. We are happy that we will contribute as an organisation to building the capacities of the people responsible for this issue. It is understood that this requires a strong commitment not only in terms of training the AFA's staff, team coaches, and sports clubs, but we are going to work to raise awareness as well with the parents and children who attend football."
Mr. Armando Duka, the President of the AFA, highlighted: "Even though today we are signing the agreement, the cooperation between the Albanian Football Association and Terre des hommes Albania has already started. We have had training sessions among the AFA’s staff. They are informed on how we are going to implement child protection policies in football. Engaging many children in football is one of our priorities and it is very important that children who play football feel safe and protected from bullying and other negative phenomena. It requires a lot of professional work, so the children who play football will enjoy all the benefits that sport brings into their life, at the same time they will feel good and respect their peers in the field."
Through the signing of this cooperation agreement with the Albanian Football Association, Tdh commits to providing its expertise to increase the capacities of the contact persons of the AFA as part of the mechanism created by the association to guarantee the safest and most empowering environment for all children and youth involved in football. With the expertise gained in the implementation of projects in the field of child protection, Terre des hommes will also offer its consultancy for the analysis, review and design of strategies and action plans aiming at better qualitative services for all children.