Doncaster junior football club probed over claims official bought drugs for player

A Doncaster junior football club is being probed over claims that officials bought drugs off the internet for a young player and that ‘adult’ photos of another staff member were shared online.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 6:01 am

South Yorkshire Police have confirmed that two people were arrested and an investigation launched, while a number of football authorities have also been investigating Stainforth Juniors for a number of months following the allegations which date back to last year.

The Free Press has been told that a club official was suspended after it was alleged they had purchased sleeping medication for an under 7 player off the web.

Upset parents, who have asked to remain anonymous, have spoken out saying the club has a ‘major safeguarding problem.’

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Police and football officials have been probing Stainforth Juniors FC over a number of allegations.

It has also emerged that ‘adult’ images of a club official were shared on a parents’ WhatsApp group as part of a 'hate campaign.'

The club has a number of teams playing at different age groups in the Doncaster and District Junior Sunday Football League. It has been alleged that the club ran for the whole of last season without any DBS checked staff.

DBS – the Disclosure and Barring Service – allows organisations to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially involving children or vulnerable adults, and provides wider access to criminal record information through its disclosure service.

The Free Press has seen emails from the West Riding FA confirming an investigation into the club and confirming the suspension of officials over safeguarding issues.

South Yorkshire Police has also said that a man and a woman were both arrested on suspicion of child neglect. Both have since been released pending no further action.

FA officials have also been probing cases of coaches swearing at children, a lack of DBS checks for coaches and a lack of safeguarding and coaching qualifications.

It also said they were aware of adult images of an official circulating among parents, an FA email telling the club: “It transpires that somebody with a grudge / vendetta is circulating these images to seemingly cause damage and ill feeling from others.

"The images are been shared maliciously and the committee, under your leadership, should be doing all you can to ensure the distribution of these images ceases immediately.

"Anyone (club official, coach, parent) found to be sharing or distributing the images should be subject to the Club Disciplinary Process and the matter should be reported to the police.”

Further points raised in the email, from a spokesman for the West Riding FA said: “Since myself and the FA have been involved, we have regularly received emails, messages and telephone calls from individuals relating to poor practice matters at the club.

"Examples of such matters are coaches swearing at children, coaches refusing to have a DBS check or refusing to adhere to the ratio guidance of two DBS checked coaches per team, children playing in the wrong age groups and no safeguarding and coaching qualifications – although this is now in hand.

“Ordinarily we would not become embroiled in these issues, and would expect these to be dealt with internally.

"We know many of these complaints have come in to us anonymously, but never the less we do expect that a club committee would look into and deal with these as they arise, or at the very least address any concerns raised with those individuals mentioned.”

One concerned parent told the Free Press: “They were told if they did not improve, they would be shutting down.

"The club ran for the whole season without anyone officially holding a DBS.

"How unsafe is it in today's age for a junior football club to run without anyone having a valid DBS and that children could have been put at risk?"

It is understood that all coaches at the club now have DBS certification.

The Free Press has made a number of approaches to both Stainforth Juniors and the West Riding FA for comment in recent weeks, without success.

The club has repeatedly refused to respond to emails.

A spokesman for the Football Association said: “The FA has robust safeguarding measures in place, and all referrals into The FA are handled in line with our policies and procedures. We do not comment on individual cases.”