Since 2002 the Child Protection in Sport Unit and NGBs of sport have been lobbying and fighting for sports coaches to be subject to the ‘abuse of their position of trust’ when working with 16 to 18 year old young people. The closing of the loophole makes it illegal from June 28, 2022 for any sportscoach to engage in sexual activity with under-18s in their care.

This is a milestone moment in the development and history of safeguarding in sport. 

Sir Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “We are delighted the new laws which will see sports coaches and faith leaders finally join teachers and social workers as being in “positions of trust” over children in their care will come into force this week. We’re grateful to the courageous young people who bravely shared their stories and our supporters who threw their weight behind our ‘Close the Loophole” campaign to help make this possible.

“By taking this step to close the legal loophole which up until now has allowed some unscrupulous sports coaches and faith leaders to groom and sexually exploit 16 and 17-year-olds in their care, the Government has listened.

“Young people should now be able to undertake more of the extracurricular activities they love without being at risk of grooming by the very adults they look to for support. It is now vital that the Government, criminal justice agencies and all those involved in sports clubs and religious communities invest in ensuring adults and young people are aware of this change and what it means.”

Adrian Christy, Chief Executive Officer for Table Tennis England expressed his delight with the change to the legislation, and Judy Rogers, Safeguarding and Ethics Manager for Table Tennis England said: “I have been involved with safeguarding in table tennis since 1998 and have been part of the campaign group of NGBs all pushing and supporting the CPSU in lobbying government to make this change. 

“It is a huge step forward for sport in protecting our young people from those who want to sexually exploit them using sport as a screen for their activities.”

Check out the Table Tennis England Safeguarding page on our website for more information over the next few weeks as we are working with the CPSU to produce a set of FAQs for clubs and coaches. For more information, click here to see the CPSU briefing note.