By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
To ensure safety in all football stadia across Africa, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and UNITAR’s International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) jointly have announced the launch of the first United Nations (UN) certified Sport Safety and Security Training and Advanced Education Programme for professionals in Africa.
This cheering news was disclosed by Dr. Christian Emeruwa, Head, CAF Safety and Security Department who also said “the Confederation of African Football is happy today (Wednesday) to present to Africa a sustainable training programme that will afford all interested persons the opportunity to learn more about sport safety and security.
Emeruwa also explained that “Our goal has always been to make our stadiums safe for all football stakeholder groups and to achieve this we need to have trained personnel responsible for the safety and security arrangements in our stadiums. Today we are witnessing one of the benefits of our collaboration with the ICSS and UNITAR’s CIFAL, and we are glad to be part of this history”.
The full statement read in parts:
“The launch took place at the presence of over 300 safety and security professionals from African football federations, leagues, and clubs, as well as high-level representatives from the United Nations and FIFA.
The training programme, which was designed to develop and strengthen the knowledge, skills, and abilities of safety and security professionals in African football, was initiated within the framework of the partnership agreements between the ICSS, CAF and UNITAR respectively, with the aim of advancing sport safety, security, integrity, and socio-economic development.
Participants that enroll in the programme will take courses that focus on the sport safety and security best practices structured into a series of key interlinked courses which participants can complete as a whole or independently. Successful completion of all courses will provide participants with both a higher level of certification and internationally recognized academic credits.
The course, titled Sport Safety and Security Fundamentals, will be the first in the series of courses offered by the three partners this fall, which will be followed by courses on Sport Safety and Security Planning, Safety and Security at Major Sporting Events, Threat and Risk Assessments, COVID-19: Safety and Security Planning for the New Normal, Physical Protective Security Measures, Technical Protective Security Measures, Operational Protective Security Measures, Incident Response and Crisis Management, Safety and Security Command and Control, Crowd Management, Calculating Venue Safe Capacity and Safety and Security in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The programme is internationally certified and accredited through CIFAL Global Network on behalf of UNITAR – United Nations Institute for Training and Research, to meet an exceptionally high training and learning standard and guarantee the participants will increase their knowledge and develop new skills.
In its initial stage, the training will primarily be aimed at safety and security professionals from national football federations, national and local football leagues, as well as football clubs on the African continent. Individuals located on the African continent interested in transitioning into the sports safety and security industry may also partake in this training programme.
Each course will be delivered in a virtual classroom-based training environment using a blended learning approach. This will include asynchronous and synchronous instructional approaches.
Commenting on the roll out of the programme, the ICSS CEO, Massimiliano Montanari, said: “Safety and security practitioners serve as the guardians of football competitions and thanks to their work, which is often behind the scenes, the players, spectators and the overall football community is protected. It is time to fully recognize and internationally certify their role and give it the importance it deserves.”
“The Confederation of African Football is happy today to present to Africa a sustainable training programme that will afford all interested persons the opportunity to learn more about sport safety and security. Our goal has always been to make our stadiums safe for all football stakeholder groups and to achieve this we need to have trained personnel responsible for the safety and security arrangements in our stadiums. Today we are witnessing one of the benefits of our collaboration with the ICSS and UNITAR’s CIFAL, and we are glad to be part of this history,” explained Dr. Christian Emeruwa, who heads the CAF Safety and Security Department.
Julio Andrade, Director of CIFAL Málaga-UNITAR, highlighted the importance of this agreement by emphasizing that after home and school, sport is the third area of development for minors. “In this area people develop physically, socially and psychologically. For this reason, the world of sport, particularly football, has a great responsibility in terms of contributing to the promotion of the SDGs and leading the way in ensuring that sport is played in safe and sustainable environments,” said Andrade.
“Sports, especially for our youth, has proven to be an important enabler for promoting peace and the UN Sustainable Development Goals through tolerance, respect and empowerment of communities in need. UNITAR and the CIFAL Global Network are proud to be partners in the timely launch of the ‘Sport, Safety and Security Training and Advanced Education Programme’, which aims to ensure responsible governance in the football scene – and beyond.” According to Alex Mejia, Director, Division for People and Social Inclusion; Head, CIFAL Global Network.