Football & Sport

Sport is an important part of the UK landscape socially, economically and culturally; it has the power to transform communities and offer important role-models. But it is also often a place where attitudes that maintain gender inequality and violence against women and girls are both formed and reinforced.

These attitudes underpin a culture in which 1 in 3 women will face sexual violence and/ or domestic abuse in their lifetimes, with 71% of women reporting sexual harassment in a public space.

For Kindling, sport is both a challenge and an opportunity.

We take a system-based approach, with a focus on prevention

For workplace cultures that promote healthy relationships and challenge harmful behaviour, everyone has to be on board.  This means we have training aimed at everyone, from senior team players, coaches and support staff and wider organisational staff (such as academy staff and HR) right through to the Board of Directors and senior leadership.

Our offers include:

  • Football Onside (6 hours)
  • Bystander at Work (4 hours)
  • Healthy Relationships (1-2 hours)
  • Bespoke training


Football Onside 

Football Onside* is the first evidence-led bystander intervention programme in the UK designed for sporting professionals.

The training equips sporting professionals to be ‘active bystanders’ and positive role models who can intervene safely and effectively when they witness unacceptable behaviours – from sexist jokes or demeaning “locker-room” banter through to more severe harms. It also trains participants to better notice risk and to safely receive disclosures and refer appropriately.

A recent study by Dr Anastasiia Kovalenko and Dr Rachel Fenton was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The study shows how specialist training helps change attitudes. Researchers demonstrate how coaches can be positive role models who promote respectful attitudes and actions towards women. 

This was one of the best training courses that I have attended. I have recommended that this course is rolled out across Fulham FC Foundation and would ensure that this was mandatory for all staff (in particular coaches). I would most certainly recommend this course.” – Fulham FC Foundation Staff

“Taking part in this programme gave us the opportunity to arm our staff, volunteers and partners with the skills and information they need to intervene if they find themselves in a situation where inappropriate language or behaviours are observed.”Jamie Vittles, CEO, Exeter CITY Community Trust

*Football Onside was developed by experts from the University of Exeter Law School in collaboration with Exeter CITY Community Trust and supported by partners Public Health England, Devon County Council, Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services, Hollie Gazzard Trust and Plymouth Argyle FC.



Healthy Relationships and Consent Training 

For: Senior teams, U21s, U18s

Our Healthy Relationships workshops aren’t your usual consent-by-PowerPoint affair. They are dynamic, conversation-based, non-judgemental spaces offering the chance for critically reflective conversations about sex, relationships and masculinity.  They are delivered by expert male facilitators and aim to equip athletes to practice consent skilfully – avoiding risk to them, their romantic partners, and the club.


Bystander at Work

For: Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Teams

Aimed specifically at those with responsibility for setting organisational culture, and rooted in our evidence-based Bystander at Work training, this offer aims to deepen knowledge of leadership, power and privilege as well as equip skills to notice and challenge everyday behaviours in the workplace that enable violence against women and girls.  


Bespoke Leadership

For: Support staff, leadership roles

This offers participants an introduction to our approach to prevention, linking ‘lower level’ behaviour, such as sexist jokes, to ‘higher level’ harms, such as sexual assault and asking participants to think critically about workplace culture. Aimed at coaches and senior team support staff, it outlines both the business and moral case for the Healthy Relationships and Consent training, as well as an introductory framework to the practice of active bystander intervention.

“As a young footballer I know I would have found it very difficult to speak out in an uncomfortable situation, this initiative means that that others may not find it so difficult and can change things for the better”

“I have broader knowledge around abuse and feel empowered to intervene as a bystander”

“In a changing room, someone said something. I said, ‘That’s too far. Enough of that now,’ and no one ever made a comment like that throughout the whole day… So I don't think I would have done that without this [the programme]… Knowing that I stepped in and potentially helped someone, it really did make my day, and it put a smile on my face for the rest of the day…”

“So if you go past somebody with the ball, you ‘rape’ them. Horrendous. But I've played football professionally and semi-professionally from 16, so it becomes normal, but it’s not. It’s a horrendous word. It’s not used in that context, but it’s not right to say. So someone said that at training and I said ‘Do you know what you're saying when you say that?’ And he didn’t, he was like ‘Oh no.’ When I said it to him, he was horrified. But it’s not right and it’s something that maybe I would have pretended I hadn't heard [before the programme]…

@2020 Kindling. All rights reserved. Core legal terms and conditions

Designed and developed by tocostudio