National Network for Children sent a position to Eleonora Lilova, Chairman of the SACP, Boyko Rashkov, Minister of the Interior, and Bobi Mihailov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Football Union, regarding the involvement of children in protests against the Bulgarian Football Union on March 31, 2022.
In the letter we expressed our categorical disagreement with the involvement of children in protests that endanger their health and use violence.
Although the protests in front of the BFU headquarters are about continuing problems in the Union, in particular the withdrawal of club membership and the deprivation of children of the opportunity to pursue their hobby, this situation should not be used as an opportunity to involve children as a tool. for impact on Bulgarian society. The place of the children are on the football field, where they are trained by coaches, leaders and teachers in sportsmanship and tolerance.
Every organization, including football clubs, must comply with child protection requirements:
- Not to create situations, as well as not to allow the participation of children in events dangerous to their mental and physical health (Art. 11. (1) Every child has the right to protection against involvement in activities unfavorable to his physical, mental, moral and educational development);
- Children should not be subjected to provocation, so that they themselves use violence (in this case the use of insulting phrases and shooting at the BFU building).
Let us not turn children into hostages of someone’s interests and into a tool for influencing problems for which they are not responsible.
Moreover, such involvement of children in formats that encourage them to use violence and hate speech not only poses an immediate danger to their health, but also has a long-term negative impact on their development and perceptions of the difference between citizenship and violence.
We would like to call on both the individual clubs and the Bulgarian Football Union to take all necessary measures to ensure that children are not involved in such events and, ultimately, used as a tool for adults.