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Palu Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa from Tonga is one of the Pacific safeguarding observers attending the FIFA Women's World Cup, via the joint initiative between Team Up and FIFA / Team Up

Safeguarding in practice

In line with FIFA’s commitment to ensuring safe sporting environments for all players, at every level of the game, and as part of broader efforts to protect human rights, further groundbreaking steps have been taken to enhance the safeguarding program throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Football’s global governing body has joined forces with Team Up to send a group of Pacific Island safeguarding specialists and observers to provide support at the tournament, which kicks off on 20 July in Sydney and Auckland.

Nine Pacific safeguarding observers from four countries – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga – as well as staff from FIFA and Team Up’s strategic partners – will join Team Up’s own safeguarding specialists to provide expertise on matchdays and in other tournament settings across Adelaide/Tarntanya, Brisbane/Meaanjin, Perth/Boorloo and Sydney/Gadigal and Wangal.

Among the Pacific participants is Palu Uhatahi-Tu’amoheloa from Tonga Football Association, who works on the Team Up-supported Just Play program in Tonga

Palu recently became the first Pacific Island-based graduate of the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma, which aims to further develop and professionalise the role of safeguarding officers within football. Through her role at Just Play, she also helped contribute to the development of the global FIFA Guardians Safeguarding Toolkit in 2019.

“This is a great opportunity to put into practice what I have learnt from the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma,” she said. “I have been working on reviewing and compiling our safeguarding policy for Tonga Football Association since starting the diploma. The diploma, combined with the safeguarding education provided by Team Up, has strengthened my understanding of why safeguarding is crucial at all levels of sport.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be massive in terms of experience, learnings and practices. This tournament is taking a groundbreaking approach in terms of safeguarding. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m super excited to be one of those supporting it.

“With FIFA and Team Up placing such a priority on safeguarding, this provides us in the Pacific with a bigger opportunity to promote our work and continue to empower, learn, and create a safe space for all in sport, especially with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 being hosted in our region.”

Team Up Social Inclusion Specialist Roshika Deo said that the opportunity would provide a two-way knowledge exchange process.

“Team Up has been actively leading work in strengthening the safeguarding capacity of sports administrators and sporting bodies in the region, including contributing to the development of safeguarding courses at a global level,” she said. 

“We welcomed FIFA’s request to provide support in four Australian cities, as this provides the safeguarding focal points in some of our Team Up-supported programs an opportunity to put their learnings and experiences into practice at a major sporting event.

“This will give them exposure in a large tournament context which will be valuable for future activities and events in the Pacific. Participating in this activity will allow our partners to deepen their knowledge of safeguarding in practice, which will benefit the different sports they represent.”


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