The Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) and Inside World Football launch today the second edition of “4 Questions for 4 Leaders”, focusing on the impact of the global pandemic on youth development.

The article, which is available on both Inside World Football’s website, as well as SIGA’s, compares the different reactions of four leaders in the field of youth development and child protection across three continents, including Europe, North America and Asia.

COVID-19 has brought severe constraints and challenges to the world of sport with the suspension of most national and international sports competitions and well as local organized sports. Amidst this unprecedented crisis, youth development and safeguarding minor athletes remain important factors in advancing sport around the world. Sport will re-emerge into our daily lives and youth will return to the pitches, fields, courts and pools. Will the sport community be ready? We asked four leaders from the sport community to share their perspectives on the impact of Covid-19 and how they have and are safeguarding minor athletes:

Ju’Riese Colon, CEO of US Centre for SafeSport shared her view on the biggest challenges facing sport before the crisis from a US standpoint: “Sports teach lifelong skills like leadership, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Unfortunately, many youth don’t have the resources to participate, and those who do have the resources can sometimes deal with issues that impact their emotional and physical safety. Whether it’s bullying by teammates, overly aggressive coaches, or interacting with those who want to hurt them—it can have negative impacts that last a lifetime.”

On the biggest challenges facing youth development in sport in Asia, Jasmine Ching, Safeguarding Specialist at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) commented: “Before and after Covid, the general lack of systemic awareness and education (at all levels) on child/youth safeguarding, coupled with the lack of urgency, commitment or capability to engage on this constitutes the biggest issue in youth sport in Asia. There is now more emphasis placed by the AFC on addressing this matter.”

Discussing her work in relation to the SIGA Task Force that is currently developing the SIGA Universal Standards on Youth Development and Child Protection, Katherine Anderson, Youth Protection Compliance Officer, Major League Basketball stated: “I am excited about the future completion of the SIGA Universal Standards. Our work on these standards is helping to create a wide breadth of best practices that can be easily applied to a variety of levels of youth and amateur sports, from recreational to international competition. I believe these standards will help all youth groups evaluate their own current policies, or create new guidelines and standards, that are greatly needed in today’s youth sports culture.”

From a coach perspective, João Tralhão, Professional Football Coach, Former Benfica explained one of the greatest difficulties when coaching young athletes in today’s society: “Youths today are less encouraged in a natural context of development, that is, the contexts of playing on the street. This is because they are framed in an environment of high protectionism. Hence the need to recreate this type of stimulus in a club or academy context, defining teaching priorities adjusted to the needs of each age.”

The “4 Questions for 4 Leaders” initiative calls on leaders from the sport, business and political worlds to share their views on topical developments related to sport integrity and the fight against corruption in that sector.

This is the 20th in a set of thirty boosting measures and initiatives being announced and developed by SIGA as part of the Alliance’s new global campaign #SIGASTRIVES.


SIGA STRIVES Measure 21 will be announced tomorrow! Stay tuned