Club Safeguarding

Safeguarding Vision

‘To ensure that Portsmouth Rugby Football club excels at all aspects of Safeguarding by creating a safe, positive and enjoyable environment’

Club Safeguarding Team

  • Matt Mitchell – Club Safeguarding Officer.
  • Malcolm Ponsford  – Assistant Safeguarding Officer.
  • Laura Price – Rugby Safe Lead.

Contact details

Tel: 07740168279


Portsmouth Rugby Football Club acknowledges its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children involved in rugby at our club, and confirms that it adheres to all the RFU’s Safeguarding Policies and procedures, recommended practices and guidelines and furthermore endorse and adopt the statements contained in those documents.

Under Child Protection laws and RFU policy, a “child” is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any rugby union activity.

The Key Principles of the RFU Safeguarding Policy are that:

  • The welfare of the child is, and must always be, paramount to any other considerations
  • All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, size, language or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse or harm and should be able to enjoy their rugby in a positive, safe and enjoyable environment
  • All allegations or suspicions of abuse, neglect, harm, discrimination and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately
  • Everyone involved in the sport will work in partnership to promote the welfare, health and development of children

Safe Recruitment

The Club is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Children are entitled to participate in rugby union activities in a safe and welcoming environment. Safer recruitment procedures will enable the club to reduce the risk of abuse to children, when recruiting employees or volunteers to the children’s workforce all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure only suitable people are selected.

The people who work in a rugby club are the most important asset a club has. A good and robust recruitment process is essential to ensure the best people are chosen for the roles they undertake. These must be people who are suited to the club and who are unlikely to harm children, intentionally or accidentally. A club which has good recruitment, induction and supervision processes shows those working there the value which is put on children’s safety and wellbeing. Portsmouth RFC has adopted a robust recruitment process which is line with the RFUs procedures and will be applied to all new volunteers. This included a job description, interview, consideration as to an individual’s suitability for the role and planning for training and monitoring, in addition to carrying out the relevant E-Learning modules, mandated DBS check and obtaining and checking provided references. Official checks and vetting procedures are on their own, not enough to protect children. They are only part of a wider set of practices and an organisational culture which supports and promotes safe practice.

Club Equality and Diversity Statement

Portsmouth Rugby Football Club aims to ensure that all members irrespective of their age, gender, ability, race, religion, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, social status or sexual orientation have a genuine and equal opportunity to participate in rugby. This aim covers all players, coaches, administrative staff, match officials or spectators. It is the aim of Portsmouth Rugby Football Club not to disadvantage any individual by imposing any conditions or requirements which cannot be justified.


Portsmouth Rugby Football Club aims to create a safe and secure learning environment where individuals treat each other with respect and understanding. Bullying will not be tolerated at all at the Club and any claims of Bullying will be taken seriously, responded to promptly, and procedures followed to deal with the situation. It is the responsibility of every adult working in rugby union whether professional or volunteer, to ensure that all young people can enjoy the sport in a safe enjoyable environment. Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour which results in the victim feeling distressed. Bullying occurs when this behaviour is exercised through the use of power rather than an exchange between equals.

Establishing a positive Club ethos

The most important aspect of our strategy to combat bullying is the creation of a positive and inclusive ethos throughout our club from junior level all the way through to our senior teams. This begins with how adults in our club treat each other, parents, and players: with respect and understanding, even in difficult situations. Concerns expressed by players and parents are always listened to carefully and taken seriously.

We promote and follow the RFU Core Values 

Everyone involved in rugby in England, whether as a player, coach, referee, administrator, parent or spectator is expected to uphold the Core Values of our sport:


Teamwork is essential to our sport. We welcome all new team members and include all because working as a team enriches our lives. We play selflessly: working for the team, not for ourselves alone, both on and off the field. We take pride in our team, rely on one another and understand that each player has a part to play. We speak out if our team or sport is threatened by inappropriate words or actions.


Mutual respect forms the basis of our sport. We hold in high esteem our sport, its values and traditions and earn the respect of others in the way we behave. We respect our match officials and accept their decisions. We respect opposition players and supporters. We value our coaches and those who run our clubs and treat clubhouses with consideration.


Enjoyment is the reason we play and support rugby union. We encourage players to enjoy training and playing. We use our sport to adopt a healthy lifestyle and build life skills. We safeguard our young players and help them have fun. We enjoy being part of a team and part of the rugby family.


Strong discipline underpins our sport. We ensure that our sport is one of controlled physical endeavour and that we are honest and fair. We obey the laws of the game which ensure an inclusive and exciting global sport. We support our disciplinary system, which protects our sport and upholds its values. We observe the sport’s laws and regulations and report serious breaches.


Sportsmanship is the foundation upon which rugby union is built. We uphold the rugby tradition of camaraderie with teammates and opposition. We observe fair play both on and off the pitch and are generous in victory and dignified in defeat. We play to win but not at all costs and recognise both endeavour and achievement. We ensure that the wellbeing and development of individual players is central to all rugby activity.

  • Play to win – but not at all cost
  • Win with dignity, lose with grace
  • Observe the Laws and regulations of the game
  • Respect opponents, referees and all participants
  • Reject cheating, racism, violence and drugs
  • Value volunteers and paid officials alike
  • Enjoy the game

We aim to be constantly promoting and reinforcing positive behaviour and developing all children’s self-esteem through celebration of achievement. In this way, by aiming to ‘include’ everyone in the rugby community, it is much less likely either those children will become a focus for bullying, or that others may resort to bullying. We encourage children, parents and club personnel to report any suspected instances of bullying to a member of the coaching staff or to the Club’s Safeguarding Officer.

Managing Touchline Behaviour 

Portsmouth Rugby Football Club does not tolerate poor touchline behaviour from any of our members and and instances will be addressed at every level. Spectators and coaches alike MUST NOT enter the field of play without the referees permission whilst a game of rugby is in progress unless there are exceptional circumstances. Poor behaviour on the touchline is no more acceptable than poor behaviour on the pitches.