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PhD: Safeguarding in football: Preventing abuse....


Safeguarding in football: Preventing abuse through empowering children’s voices

The Institute of Sport, Nursing and Allied Health (IOSNAH) is offering up to 3 full-time research bursaries (PhD studentships) across different discipline areas within Sport and Physical Activity. The bursaries offer students the opportunity to undertake a programme of doctoral research whilst also, potentially, developing their experience of learning and teaching in higher education in a supportive and supervised environment.

The studentships carry a tax-free stipend of 12,500 and a full-time home-fees waiver. Students accepting the bursary may also undertake teaching duties up to a maximum of 6 hours per week (120 hours per annum), subject to availability. Such duties will be remunerated (currently at 27.66 per hour). The bursary is funded for 3 years, subject to satisfactory annual review.

The preference is for students to undertake full-time research starting on the 1st April 2022. Part-time research is possible and will be considered on a case by case basis.

The IOSNAH has a strong research environment and has achieved excellent results in the most recent Research Evaluation Framework (with 97% of our research deemed to be internationally recognised and over 50% deemed to be internationally excellent). We have over 50 full-time members of staff researching various topics within sport and physical activity (with particular research strengths and interests in Occupational Performance, Developing Sporting Performance, Health and Well-Being and Equality and Inclusion). We currently have a cohort of 24 MPhil/PhD students.

Successful applicants will be shortlisted and advised of presentation/interview dates.

Interview date: w/c 13th December 2021

The Sheldon Report on Non-recent Child Sexual Abuse in football (2021) recognised that, whilst football has made distinct progress with respect to child safeguarding, there is still the need to enable children’s voices in the sport in order to prevent abuse. Establishing a culture of listening to children is arguably far removed from many of the ‘top down’ approaches taken in the running of sport and presents distinct challenges to organisations seeking to implement such change. This PhD would explore how children (U18 YO) are currently being listened to in football and how this may be improved in order to enhance safeguarding and athlete welfare. Emphasis will be placed on analysing children’s experiences from a sociological perspective with specific reference to sporting cultures and expressions of power. The aims of the study are to: understand the expression of children’s voices in football; explore the power relations that affect the expression of these junior voices in the sport and work with clubs to develop tool kits to support listening to children and mitigate against abuse.

For an informal discussion concerning the project please contact the project Director of Studies, Dr Suzie Everley (

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