Member protection describes the practices and procedures that are put in place within sport organisations to protect their members. The FA Member Protection framework and related policies aim to ensure that core values and positive behaviours are maintained. The Member Protection Framework assists in ensuring that every person involved in football in Australia is treated with respect and dignity, and is kept safe and protected from abuse, bullying and harassment and discrimination.
Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO)
MPIOs are the point of contact at Clubs, Associations and Referee Branches for participants, volunteers or parents with member protection enquiries or complaints. In many clubs, it is also the MPIO who manages the club’s Working with Children Check responsbilities.
Football NSW requires all Clubs, Associations and Referee Branches to have an MPIO. All MPIOs must be registered with their club in Play Football or the relevant online registration platform for insurance purposes.
Role of the MPIO
As the main point of contact for enquiries and complaints relating to member protection, the MPIO should be approachable and have good listening and communication skills. The MPIO should also have a sound knowledge of the club and the club committee structure as well as club policies, processes and child safe practices, including the Working with Children Check (WWCC).
In some clubs, managing the club’s WWCC responsibilities also forms part of the role, as compliance with the WWCC is one of the first steps at a club in keeping children safe.
Some clubs have more than one MPIO as this provides a greater level of support to their members and is particularly beneficial if the MPIO responsibilities include the WWCC, as this allows the responsibilities to be shared. The role of MPIO is usually a voluntary position.
MPIO’s are impartial and do not mediate or investigate complaints. Complaints should be managed by a suitable person appointed by the Club to manage complaints, this can be a nominated Committee Member or independent person. Where there is a conflict of interest, the Club President or Committee can appoint an independent person to manage the complaint.
MPIO Contact Details
All participants need to be able to contact the MPIO at their club. The name and a contact phone number for the MPIO should be made available without question to any person requesting it. The MPIO’s name and contact details should also be listed on the club website and included in club Newsletters and player and parent notices. If the MPIO does not wish for their phone number to be listed, then
MPIO Training Courses
- Member Protection Information Officer Training course
- Child Protection Safeguarding course
- NSW OCG Childsafe eLearning Series
- Course 1 – Child Safe Sport
- Course 2 – Keeping children safe in Organisations
- Course 3 – Responding to Reportable allegations
- Harassment & Discrimination course
- Creating an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Club
- Complaints Handling course
Working With Children Check Information & Training
Member Protection Resources
Member Protection Policies
- FNSW Guidelines for Interacting with Children
- SIA Child Safe Practices – Do’s & Dont’s
- FA Bullying & Harassment policy
- FA Anti-Discrimination policy
- FA Safeguarding policy
- XI Standards of Respect
Mental Health & Wellbeing Resources
The mental health and wellbeing of all participants in football is important to Football NSW and its member Clubs, Associations and Referee Branches. To access information about programs, resources, toolkits and links to assist in responding to incidents and supporting participants of all ages and at all levels in football visit the FNSW Mental health & wellbeing webpage
Child Safe Resources
- How to meet the Child Safe Standards
- Child Safe Scheme
- Child Safe Self-Assessment
- FA Child Safe Football – poster
- NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian Child Safe Resources
Common Member Protection Issues
The majority of people attending football do so in a respectful manner which helps create an enjoyable and safe environment. Unfortunately sometimes a minority don’t demonstrate responsible and acceptable behaviour.
Football NSW has developed a Common Issues webpage to outline some of these issues and to provide useful resources for Associations and Clubs that can be used to educate their members.
- Community club MPIOs – contact your local Football Association
- MPIOs from Associations, NPL clubs, State League Clubs, Futsal and Referee Branches – contact Football NSW on 02 8814 4400.
- FNSW Mental Health & Wellbeing webpage
- Lifeline 24/7 telephone support – 13 11 14
- Lifeline online Crisis Chat
- Lifeline website
- Beyond Blue 24/7 telephone support – 1300 224 636
- NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511
- eHeadspace – 1800 650 850
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467 Free 24/7 phone counselling
- NSW Police – In an emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
- NSW Police assistance line – 131 444
- Department of Communities & Justice – Child Protection Helpline 132 111
- NSW OCG – Working with Children Check – 02 8219 3777