Blackpool FC launches new safeguarding app

Tootoot founders Michael Brennan (left) and Kieran Innes
Tootoot founders Michael Brennan (left) and Kieran Innes
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Blackpool Football Club has launched a new safeguarding app that allows players and staff to report any concerns anonymously.

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‘Tootoot sport’ will initially be set up at Bloomfield Road as an incident reporting application to be used internally by club staff.

The anonymous safeguarding app will then be introduced to players within the next two months, allowing them to report any issues such as bullying, abuse, harassment, sexism and racism in confidence.

Harassment, abuse and bullying in sport has had a huge focus in recent months due to revelations across sports including football, cycling, swimming and athletics.

According to recent studies, 40 to 50 per cent of athletes have experienced anything from mild harassment to severe abuse.

A recent NSPCC study focusing on children and young people’s experiences in organised sport found that 75 per cent of respondents reported emotional harm.

Blackpool FC’s designated safeguarding officer, William Cowell, said: “We have a responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our staff, members and players so we’re looking forward to incorporating tootoot into our safeguarding practices.

“The app will allow our staff and players to report any concerns completely anonymously if they choose to.

“This will create an extra line of communication between the club and its members, so they can feel comfortable disclosing anything at all. The app will be an extra way to ensure that our practices, policies and procedures are effective.

“Tootoot’s dashboard feature will be key for us, it will give us an overview of all anonymous reports, creating actionable insights. With this data we will be able to address any recurring concerns and adapt our safeguarding policies and practices accordingly.”

Former Great Britain rugby league player Terry Flanagan is the chairman of tootoot sport. He said: “It’s fantastic that Blackpool FC have recognised the impact the anonymous reporting tool, tootoot sport can have.

“Back when I played professionally there was never anything like tootoot sport.

“It would have helped me and many others if there had been. Now future athletes and staff at all levels know that they can report any concerns to their welfare team in confidence.”