FA Guidance on Photography

There has been much talk about whether it’s safe to take pictures of under 18s playing sport. The FA would like to assure parents, carers, coaches, spectators, players and local media that we encourage the taking of appropriate images of children in football.

Potential risks The FA has developed this guidance to help avoid the following:

  • The inappropriate use, adaptation or copying of images for use on child abuse websites on the internet (often referred to as pornography sites). The identification of children when a photograph is accompanied by significant personal information that will assist a third party in identifying the child. This can lead, and has led, to children being’groomed’ The identification and locating of children in inappropriate circumstances which include: 
    1. where a child has been removed from his/her family for their own safety. where restrictions on contact with one parent following a parental separation exist e.g. in domestic violence cases. in situations where a child may be a witness in criminal proceedings
    2. other child protection concerns.
  • The majority of images taken are appropriate and taken in good faith. If we take the following simple measures we can help to ensure the safety of children in football.

Common sense considerations to ensure everyone’s safety:


  • Share The FA’s guidance on taking images with all parents, carers and members when they join the club. Ensure the club has parental consent to use a player’s image if it is to be used in the public domain e.g. club website or newspaper article. This is essential in relation to point 3 below. Ensure that any child in your club who is under care proceedings, is protected by ensuring that their image is not placed in the public domain. This can be done by using an annual consent form, so that parents/carers can identify if this applies to children in their care (visit www.TheFA.com/Goal and click on the downloads ‘Travel and Trips Advice’ to access atemplate annual consent form). Focus on the activity rather than the individual. Ensure all those featured are appropriately dressed (a minimum of vest or shirt and shorts). Aim to take pictures which represent the broad range of youngsters participating safely in football e.g. boys and girls, disabled people, ethnic minority communities.
  • Report any instances of inappropriate images in football to The FA Case Manager or the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) contact details can be found on the following page.


  • Publish photographs with the full name(s) of the individual(s) featured unless you have written consent to do so and you have informed the parents as to how the image will be used. Use player profiles with pictures and detailed personal information on websites. Use an image for something other than that for which it was initially agreed, e.g.published in local press when initially produced for a clubhouse commemorative picture.
  • Allow images to be recorded in changing rooms, showers or toilets – this includes the use of mobile phones that record images.


  • It’s not an offence to take appropriate photographs in a public place even if asked not to do so. No one has the right to decide who can and cannot take images on public land. If you have serious concerns about a possible child protection issue relating to the recording of images then call the police. This action should only be taken where you believe that someone may be acting unlawfully or putting a child at risk. The land or facility owner can decide whether or not photography and/or videoing of football activities will be permitted when carried out on private land. However you need to make this known before allowing individuals access to the private property. If they do not comply then you may request that they leave.
  • Try not to use images that include individuals wearing jewellery (as wearing jewellery whilst playing is contrary to the Laws of the Game as well as being a health and safety issue).

Commissioning professional photographers and the local media If you are commissioning professional photographers or inviting the press to cover a football activity ensure you and they are clear about each other’s expectations. Remember the key is to plan ahead and communicate early on. Provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of content and behaviour. Inform them of your club’s commitment to safeguarding children and young people and establish who will hold the recorded images and what they intend to do with them, e.g. place on a website for sale, distribute thumb nails to the club to co-ordinate sales. Issue the professional photographer with identification, which must be worn at all times.


Inform participants and parents or carers prior to the event that a professional photographer will be in attendance and ensure you have established that no under 18s will be compromised due to child protection concerns if their image is taken — remember this can be done by using the annual consent form at the start of the season.
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