Club Policies

Code of Conduct


Mission and Vision

At AFC Dunstable our vision is to increase participation of football to all ages, gender, culture and ability within our local community through dedicated and qualified coaching. To enable us to do this we need to ensure there are guidelines in place. We all bear a collective responsibility to set a good example and help provide a positive environment in which everyone can learn and enjoy the game.

Our mission is to maximise fun and minimise risk! We are all in positions of trust and we must set a good example.
At AFC we dream big, play hard and always remember the journey is as important as the destination! We play with heart, we play with style and above all, we play with joy!

We will always observe The FA’s Respect Code of Conduct.


Club Officials

The guidance set out below is to support the club officials in promoting positive aspects of the clubs aims, behaviour and sportsmanship.
• Use opportunities to promote and develop the Club.
• Be aware of and ensure compliance to the Club policies and procedures.
• Adhere to the laws and spirit of the game.
• Always show respect to players, team officials and supporters, both your own and the opposition.
• Respect the match official and their decisions
• Set a positive example for others, particularly young players and supporters.
• Never act in a manner that would bring the club into disrepute.
• Never engage in or tolerate offensive, insulting or abusive behaviour.
• Never resort to verbal or physical threats or intimidation when representing the Club.
• Share knowledge and experience when invited to do so, taking into account the interest of the organisation that has requested this, rather than personal interests.
• Be prepared to attend external events and meetings on behalf of the Club.
• Participate in Club organised events as appropriate to individual roles.
• Always act with honesty and integrity when representing the Club. Club officials who have regular interactions with children and young people aged 18 and under should have current FA Disclosure and Barring Service DBS) criminal records check status and FA Safeguarding certification (or FA equivalent for position held). Management Committee members not having a coach related safeguarding certification must hold FA Safeguarding for Committee Members certification.


We all have a responsibility to promote high standards of behaviour in the game. As a player, you have a big part to play. That’s why The FA is asking every player to follow a Respect Code of Conduct.
When playing football, I will:
• Always play to the best of my ability, always giving total commitment and effort for the good of the team.
• Play fairly – I won’t cheat, complain, or waste time.
• Respect all players taking part, both your own and the opposition regardless of race or creed, ability or disability.
• Play by the laws and play fairly within the rules and spirit of the game and as directed by the referee.
• At all times respect officials, coaches and spectators
After fixtures I will shake hands with the other team and referee at the end of the game.
• Listen and respond to what my coach tells me and respect the time and effort my coach puts in to enable me to play.
• Talk to someone I trust or the welfare officer if I’m unhappy about anything.
I understand that if I do not follow the code, any/all of the following actions may be taken by the Club, County FA or The FA.
I May:
• Be required to apologise to my teammates, the other team, referee or team manager.
• Receive a formal warning from the coach.
• Be dropped or substituted.
• Be suspended from training.
• Be required to leave the Club.
In Addition:
• My Club, County FA or The FA may make my parent or carer aware of any infringements of the Code of Conduct
• The FA/County FA could impose a fine and suspension against my Club.

Coaches and Managers

AFC Dunstable and our coaches all have a responsibility to promote high standards of behaviour in the game.

Play your part and observe the Football Association’s Respect Code of Conduct in everything you do.
On and off the field, I will:
• Show respect to others involved in the game including match officials, opposition players, coaches, managers, officials, and spectators.
• Adhere to the laws and spirit of the game.
• Promote Fair Play and high standards of behaviour.
• Always respect the match official’s decision.
• Never enter the field of play without the referee’s permission.
• Never engage in public criticism of the match officials.
• Never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting, or abusive language or behaviour.
When working with players, I will:
• Place the well-being, safety, and enjoyment of each player above everything, including winning.
• Explain exactly what I expect of players and what they can expect from me.
• Ensure all parents/carers of all players under the age of 18 understand these expectations.
• Never engage in or tolerate any form of bullying.
• Develop mutual trust and respect with every player to build their self-esteem.
• Encourage each player to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.
• Ensure all activities I organise are appropriate for the player’s ability level, age, and maturity.
• Cooperate fully with others in football (e.g., officials, doctors, physiotherapists, welfare officers) for each player’s best interests.
I understand that if I do not follow the code, any/all of the actions below may be taken by my Academy, County FA or The FA:
• Required to meet with the Club, league or County Welfare Officer
• Required to meet with the Club committee
• Monitored by another Club coach
• Required to attend a FA education course
• Suspended by the Club from attending sessions
• Suspended or fined by the County FA
• Required to leave the Club.
In addition:
• My FA License may be withdrawn.

Spectators and Parents

Please play your part and always support the players in a positive way.
If we behave positively during practice and matches, our players will too.
By setting a good example, we’ll help build a supportive environment in which everyone can enjoy themselves.
• Have fun! It’s what we’re all here for.
• Celebrate effort and good play from both sides
• Always respect the referee and coaches and encourage players to do the same
• Stay behind the respect line and within the designated spectator’s area (where provided)
• When players make mistakes, offer them encouragement to try again next time. Mistakes are part of learning
• Never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting, or abusive language or behaviour.
• Always respect the match officials’ decisions.
I understand that breaches of the code may result in action being taken by my County FA and /or The FA In addition, when attending youth games, I will:
• Let the coaches do their job and not confuse the players by telling them what to do.
• Encourage the players to respect the opposition and match officials.

Respect players, team officials, and supporters both your own and the opposition regardless of race, ability or disability.
I understand that if I do not follow the code, I may be:
• Issued with a verbal warning or asked to leave.
• Required to meet with the club committee, league, or Welfare Officer.
• Requested not to attend future games
• Required to leave the club along with any dependants and/or issued a fine.


Complaints Procedure

All complaints regarding the behaviour of members of the Club should be submitted to the Club Secretary in writing by email or letter for consideration by the Executive Committee. This may include any offence, either within football activities or outside, which might bring the Club into disrepute.
A complaint should be raised as soon as possible after the event but no later than 30 days after the event or series of events.
Informal Complaint
The complainant can raise the complaint with the Club and give them the opportunity to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the complainant.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the proposed resolution the complaint can become formal (a formal complaint must be made within 30 days of the notice of the proposed resolution).
Formal Complaint
On receipt of a formal complaint the Clubs Disciplinary procedure will be applied, please refer to the Clubs Disciplinary Procedure for full details.

Complaint Format
Full details of the complaint should be provided and include:
• Name and address of the complainant.
• Date and time of the complaint
• Full details of the complaint.

The Club may request additional information.
The Club will endeavour to protect the complainant’s privacy but depending on the circumstances of the complaint cannot guarantee that privacy can be maintained.

Email address:

Postal address: 8a Wingbury Courtyard Business Village, Leighton Road, Wingrave, Bucks HP22 4LW.


Disciplinary Procedure

All complaints regarding the behaviour of members should be submitted to the Secretary for consideration by the Executive Committee. This may include any offence, either within football activities or outside, which might bring the Club into disrepute.

The Executive Committee will have the power to suspend temporarily from membership any member accused of misconduct or abuse, pending further investigations or enquiries. This suspension is to facilitate the investigation and is without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation.

Any Member thought to have infringed any Rules or has been accused of any misconduct shall be invited to comment, in writing within fourteen days, on a written statement from the Secretary setting out the alleged breach.

The Executive Committee will consider any reply at the next meeting and if not satisfied as to the suitability of continued membership shall set up a Disciplinary Committee of three to five Full Members, none of whom have any direct interest in the matter.

The Disciplinary Committee will make such further enquiries as it thinks fit and will offer a reasonable opportunity to the Member concerned with a friend, if so desired, to meet with it and answer the allegations and the Disciplinary Committee will hear such witnesses as are reasonably produced.

The Disciplinary Committee will make such procedural provisions as necessary for the just and efficient disposal of the case. The Disciplinary Committee will submit a written recommendation to the Executive Committee within seven days of the final meeting with the Member, and the Executive Committee will determine its decision as soon as is practical thereafter.

If the Disciplinary Committee is satisfied that there was an offence, then it may recommend one or more of the following actions to the Executive Committee:

· note the offence but take no further action.

· warn the Member concerned as to future conduct but no further action.

· suspend or disqualify the Member from football competition, coaching and/or administration for some definite or indefinite period; recommend to the Bedfordshire F.A. that the Member be disqualified from any involvement in football for some definite or indefinite period; terminate the membership or such other penalty as the Disciplinary Committee considers appropriate.·

The Member concerned will receive written notification of the outcome within seven days of the decision. The Member concerned may appeal against any decision as allowed in the F.A. Rules.


AFC Dunstable Equality Policy

The aim of this policy is to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect and that AFC Dunstable is equally accessible to all.

AFC Dunstable is responsible for setting standards and values that apply throughout the club at every level. Football belongs to and should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate in it.

AFC Dunstable in all its activities will not discriminate or in any way, treat anyone less favourably on grounds of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability, or disability. The club will ensure it treats people fairly and with respect and that it will provide access and opportunities for all members of the community to take part in and enjoy its activities.

AFC Dunstable will not tolerate harassment, bullying, abuse, or victimisation of an individual, which for the purposes of this policy and the actions and sanction applicable is regarded as discrimination. This includes sexual or racially based harassment or other discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal. The club will work to ensure that such behaviour is met with appropriate action in whatever context it occurs. This policy is fully supported by the Club Officers who are responsible for the implementation of this policy.

AFC Dunstable is committed to taking positive action where inequalities exist and to the development of a programme of ongoing training and awareness raising events and activities to promote the eradication of discrimination and promote equality in football.

AFC Dunstable is committed to a policy of equal treatment of all members and requires all members to abide and adhere to these policies and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

AFC Dunstable commits itself to the immediate investigation of any claims when brought to its attention, of discrimination on the above grounds and where such is found to be the case, a requirement that the practice stop and sanctions are imposed as appropriate. Our Commitment is to confront and eliminate discrimination whether by reason of age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability, or disability and to encourage equal opportunities.


AFC Dunstable Safeguarding Policy

1. Our Responsibilities
As an England Football Accredited Club, AFC Football Club acknowledges our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of every child and young person and are committed to providing a safe environment for all. We recognise that a child is anyone under the age of 18 and subscribe to The Football Association’s (The FA) Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures.
Our Football Club endorses and adopts the following key safeguarding principles:
• the child’s welfare is, and must always be, the paramount consideration.
• all children and young people have a right to be protected from abuse regardless of their, age, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital status or civil partnership, race, nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion or belief, ability or disability, pregnancy and maternity.
• all suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately; and
• working in partnership with other organisations, children and young people and their parents/carers is essential.
AFC Football Club acknowledges that every child or young person who plays or participates in football must be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from poor practice, inappropriate behaviour, and abuse. This is the responsibility of every adult involved in our club, including the parents/carers of our players and we will effectively communicate this to our members throughout the season.
AFC Football Club commits to ensuring that children and young people have the right to take part, be heard and have their views and opinions taken into consideration when making club decisions and actions that concern them.

2. Our Role

AFC Football Club has a responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people by protecting them from physical, sexual, or emotional harm and from neglect or bullying. It is noted and accepted that The FA’s Safeguarding Children Regulations (see The FA Handbook) apply to everyone in football whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, including coaches/managers, volunteers, match officials, helpers on club tours, or medical staff or other club officials/helpers.

3. Safer Recruitment

We endorse and adopt The FA’s Safer Recruitment guidelines and where an individual is going to take on a specific role for the club we will:
• Specify what the role is and what tasks it involves.
• Request identification documents.
• As a minimum meet and chat with the applicant(s) and where possible interview people before appointing them.
• Ask for and follow up with 2 references before appointing someone; and
• Where eligible require an FA-accepted DBS enhanced with barred list Check, in line with The FA’s current Safeguarding Children Policy and Regulations.

Everyone working in eligible roles with children and young people, such as coaches/managers, first aiders and physiotherapists, are required to hold an in-date FA-accepted DBS enhanced with barred list Check as part of safer recruitment practice and we commit to managing this consistently with individuals in current roles and those new to role. If there are concerns regarding the appropriateness of an individual who is already involved or who has approached us to become part of AFC Football Club, guidance will always be sought from the County Football Association (CFA) Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).

It is accepted that The FA aims to prevent people with a history of relevant and significant offending from having contact with children or young people and the opportunity to influence policies or practice with children or young people. This is to prevent direct sexual or physical harm to children and to minimise the risk of football being used in the grooming of children.

4. Our Club Welfare Officer

AFC Football Club has appointed a Club Welfare Officer (Youth Teams) (“CWO”) in line with The FA’s role profile who has completed the Safeguarding Children and Welfare Officer Courses. We commit to supporting the post holder to be involved with ongoing Welfare Officer training provided by The FA and/or CFA.

Our CWO is the first point of contact for all parents/carers and club officials regarding concerns about the welfare of any child or young person. The role of the CWO and their contact information is widely communicated throughout the club. The CWO will liaise directly with the CFA DSO and will be familiar with the procedures for referring any concerns. The CWO will also play a proactive role in increasing awareness of respect, acceptable behaviours, how to deal with low-level concerns and how to report abuse.

We recognise the need for proportionality in appointing individuals to the role of CWO (Youth
Teams) and where appropriate Assistant CWO (Youth Teams) to ensure visibility for our membership. Where needed, we will appoint Assistant Club Welfare Officers (Youth Teams) to
support the club and CWO to bring this policy to life and to drive safer working practice and a proactive culture as is necessary.

5. Bullying

We acknowledge and endorse The FA’s identification of bullying as a category of abuse.
Bullying of any kind is not acceptable at our club. All players and parents/carers will be able to access our anti-bullying policy and know that incidents will be dealt with appropriately. Incidents need to be reported to the CWO and in cases of repeated and/or serious bullying the CFA DSO may be contacted.

6. Acceptable behaviour when working with young people

Everyone who works or volunteers with children is responsible and accountable for the way in which they behave around and towards them. Every child has a right to be treated with respect and dignity. We always require adults within our club to exhibit acceptable behaviour. We adopt The FA’s ‘Acceptable Behaviours guidance (5.7)’.
Codes of conduct for Players, Parents/Spectators, Officials and Coaches have been implemented by our Club. The club has clear actions it will take regarding breaches of the codes, repeated or serious misconduct at club level and acknowledges the possibility of potential sanctions which may be implemented by the CFA in more serious circumstances.

7. Reporting Concerns

In this Club, safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and we know that inaction is not an option. If anyone is worried about a child, they must report their concerns to our CWO (Youth Teams).
Our CWO will manage low-level concerns and where necessary seek advice from the CFA DSO.
• Our CWO will make referrals about more serious concerns to the CFA DSO, or in an emergency contact the Police or Children’s Social Care. We will ensure that if the child needs immediate medical treatment that we take them to a hospital or call an ambulance and tell them it is a child protection concern.
• Our CWO will keep records of the actions taken and keep the CFA DSO informed.
If at any time our CWO is not available, or the matter is clearly serious, all our members must be aware that they can:
• Contact the CFA DSO directly.
• Contact The FA’s Safeguarding Team via
• Contact the Police or Children’s Social Care; and/or
• Call the NSPCC Helpline (Monday to Friday 8am-10pm or 9am-6pm at the weekends) for advice on 0808 800 5000 or text 88858 or email

8. Whistleblowing

AFC Football Club supports The FA’s Whistle Blowing policy (as described in this paragraph) which requires any adult or young person with concerns about an adult in a position of trust within football to ‘whistle blow’ by contacting The FA Safeguarding Team by writing to The FA Case Manager at The Football Association, Wembley Stadium, PO Box 1966, London SW1P 9EQ, by emailing or alternatively by going direct to the Police, Children’s Social Care or the NSPCC. We encourage everyone to know about The FA’s Whistle- Blowing Policy and to use it when necessary.

9. Our Commitment

As an England Football Accredited Club, our committee understands and accepts the collective responsibility to adhere to our safeguarding children policy and procedures and to ensure that safeguarding is always an agenda item at our committee meetings. We commit to proactively sharing our policy, procedures and CWO contact details with our members.


PRO Teamship Rules

AFC Dunstable Youth


We know where to invest our energy – We don’t waste time trying to ref the game or complain about decisions after they have been made. Coaches and playing staff do not call for refereeing decisions. We respectfully accept it and move on.

We understand that the input is as important as the output – Training time is as important as matches, because this is where we continually learn, improve and grow as a team.

We try our hardest – We always strive for high performance in everything we do, an excellent work rate is the minimum requirement.

We believe in outperforming our opposition – We always try to perform better than the opposition: not less worse, or as good as. Always better.

If you’re late, you don’t start – Players who are late on matchday without an acceptable and pre-agreed reason do not start.

We’re about more than winning – Our success will not be defined by results. We always strive to win, but we want to win the right way. We play hard, fair and always hold our head high regardless of the result. Players and coaches are humble in both victory and defeat.

We always respect our environment – We leave all facilities (including the opposition) as clean as we found them. We do not litter and recycle where possible.

We as players take full responsibility on the pitch – Defensive duties are as important as attacking ones, we agree to run backwards as much and as fast as we can run forward.

We focus on the future – We promise to recruit and invest in a player’s future potential, not their past successes.

We’re always committed to the plan – We commit to our pre-agreed playing style and principles at all times.

We do not tolerate bad characters or energy sappers – People who do not respect these rules and are poor team players will be moved on, despite any talent level.


We are always presentable – All players are required to wear full club kit on match days.

We always set the best example – we take pride in how we represent ourselves on and off the pitch

We always introduce ourselves – All players and coaches should greet fellow players and opposition in a positive way..

We are always kind and respectful – Players and coaches communicate with respect and kindness at all times, no matter the context of the conversation.

We always believe honesty is the best policy – We communicate honestly and we explain why we have made decisions and speak up if something upsets us.

We always respect those outside of AFC Dunstable – We speak to referees, opposition supporters, coaches and players with nothing but respect and warmth.

We believe it’s best to talk in person – Any bad news or difficult conversations always take place in person or on the phone, never by text.


We believe in positive timekeeping – If we’re on time, we’re actually late. Meeting times and training times are when our work begins. Therefore, we arrive early, ready to switch on and contribute from this point onwards.

We are always one step ahead – We never have to be asked if we can help because we know how to do things like organising equipment, collecting footballs or tidying changing rooms. We just get on and do it.

We have a zero tolerance policy on racism and discrimination – everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other factor.

We always take ownership – We never make excuses, or blame others. If we make a mistake, we own it and learn from it.