Explaining why we don’t currently support youth sport on our app.
We believe that football is for everyone. So, you might be surprised to learn that we include an age restriction within our app as stated in our Terms of Service
We don’t currently feel we can put the measures in place to confidently keep children safe on our app. We’re acutely aware of the history surrounding youth sports teams and predatory behaviour in the UK, and recognise it as a risk that could potentially be associated with our app. Rather than turn a blind eye or place the responsibility on parents to monitor their children’s online activities, we have taken the difficult decision to prevent children under the age of 16 from using the app.
Our signup system will prevent anyone creating an account under the age of 16. If you circumvent this by providing a false date of birth, you are breaking our terms of service and we cannot be held responsible for your safety on our app. If we discover this has occurred, we will remove the account in question from our database.
We have chosen the age of 16 as we feel this is the age in where young players start to progress from youth football to adult football. Our intention is for the app to be used by football teams and therefore do not want to exclude their youngest players for their adult teams.
• The app could require a minimum number of squad members before events can be scheduled, so that you cannot have a squad containing only two individuals, such as a coach and player.
• Requiring a minimum number of players before an event can take place, again restricting the ability to create 1-to-1 events. However, this is ineffective as it wouldn't stop the event from taking place in the real world, regardless of the match status on the app.
• Creating an entirely separate youth version of the app.
We have not included these because we either lack the resources (creating a youth app) or feel these would restrict the flexibility of the app. Rules such as these are difficult to explain to regular users. For example, if two adults want to play tennis and arrange it through Squad Assist, it feels unfair to prevent them on the grounds that they haven't got enough players in their squad.
If the app proves a success, then we will have the resources to launch a separate youth version of Squad Assist. This would require a second development team as the two would be different apps. We would be able to put firmer restrictions in place on minimum numbers in a Squad, minimum numbers for sessions. We could implement flagging inappropriate behaviour features, and an entirely different payment system with even tighter restrictions.
Written by Tom Bullard, Co-Founder of Squad Assist, 30th October 2022.