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4 Aug, 2022 11:34

Premier League players to have ‘mandatory sexual consent training’ – media

English football has been hit with several instances of alleged sexual assault
Premier League players to have ‘mandatory sexual consent training’ – media

Premier League players and staff are to receive mandatory training to further educate them about sexual consent, amid several high-profile cases of alleged sexual assault involving footballers, it has been reported.

According to The Telegraph, new steps are being taken to help combat sexual impropriety amongst footballers to halt what appears to be a rising trend of allegations against some players. 

This comes following cases involving the likes of Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy and Manchester United's Mason Greenwood. Mendy has been charged with several sexual offenses, while Greenwood was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of sexual assault and threats to kill. Neither player has as of yet been found guilty by a jury. 

A further case involving an unnamed Premier League footballer is also understood to be under investigation.

Previously, Premier League clubs operated programs to educate underage players about consent in sexual relationships, bullying and sexual harassment - but this was not required for senior players.

The new rules dictate that even experienced players will be subject to the training which will be delivered by trained professionals, and clubs who fail to implement the face-to-face educational sessions will face disciplinary penalties. 

The proposal was launched earlier this summer to combat “a culture of gender-based violence,” according to a variety of anti-violence campaigners.

We’re pleased to see the Premier League has adopted the action plan we sent in our open letter to them and the FA on the urgency needed to tackle gender-based violence in football,” said Shaista Aziz, co-director of The Three Hijabis, a group which works to combat violence against women.

This is an important first and long overdue step in the right direction. However, we need greater transparency on how this new guidance will be implemented by Premier League clubs. Any programme to tackle gender-based violence must be delivered by Violence Against Women and Girls specialists  if it’s to be a meaningful change.

The details matter, as does transparency and accountability. We’ve had productive meetings with the Premier League on these issues and look forward to meeting again to discuss implementation of our demands. The FA, in contrast, continues to be opaque, out of step, and dismissive in its behaviours towards us. We call on the FA to urgently engage with tackling gender-based violence across football.

It is inconsistent and inconceivable that, in 2022, you can have a high-profile footballer accused of these very serious crimes and his employer says: ‘It’s OK, he can carry on going to work.’ It’s outrageous, and it completely goes against the grain of our open letter.”

The unnamed Premier League player currently under investigation has not been suspended by his club, while Manchester City only served Mendy with a suspension when he was formally charged by police but after they were aware he was under investigation by authorities. 

The English Football Association, though, told the Telegraph in a statement that they reserve harsh penalties for players who fall foul of the law.

The FA strongly condemns violence and prejudice of any kind, including misogyny, and encourages anyone who has been the subject of, or witness to, this type of behaviour to report it to the Police and the relevant authorities so that it can be investigated,” they said.

The FA will take the allegations extremely seriously and will take action within its jurisdiction. Any such case would be investigated once any criminal or statutory investigation is concluded.”