Getting it right for every child in Scottish football

Children’s Parliament was commissioned by the Scottish Football Association to develop an understanding of the experiences of children participating in Scottish football, with a particular focus on their wellbeing, feelings of safety and having a voice in the national game.

Using a children’s rights approach and creative methods, we had direct conversations with over 100 young players between 8 and 18. Their views were used to develop a national survey that received more than 1500 responses from children and young people across Scotland.


Overall, the results are positive. The majority of children and young people feel they have fun and feel safe when playing football. Children recognised the positive impact football has on their physical and mental wellbeing. They talked about the importance of a trusting relationship with coaches and other adults in the club whom they can share worries and problems.

At the same time, they also shared their thoughts on how adults can make it a better experience for young players, for example in the area of inclusion, accessibility, addressing gender equality and racism, and age categorisation.

We believe every adult involved in football can make a difference! The report provides some food for thought on:

  • How can we support children to learn, experience and claim their rights as young football players?
  • How can we include everyone who wants to play football?
  • What is the balance between taking part, being included, having fun, and winning across a competitive team sport?

This project was conducted between August 2022 – November 2023. Read the summary report below:

The full report is also available below:

A huge thank you to the football clubs, their young players and parents who have supported this research. Your voices and experiences are valuable.

This project was commissioned by Scottish Football Association.

Date: 2023
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