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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
No glory for child soccer stars
A children's charity said the ban robs players of praise
A children's football league has stopped printing the names and pictures of players to protect them from paedophiles.

Southend Junior Football League officials in Essex have decided only the results of the children's matches can be printed in local newspapers. Goal scorers will no longer feature in write-ups.

Rachel Tarr, from the Football Association's Child Protection Department, said a growing number of junior leagues was banning children's names from newspaper reports.

However, a children's charity said the ban could cause more harm than good as it robs the young players of their moments of glory.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

Essex County Football Association confirmed on Thursday the Southend league would no longer be printing names, but added it did not tell any of the leagues what stance to take on the issue.

But children's charity Kidscape, which aims to protect youngsters from harm and abuse, said the ban is an over-reaction which goes too far.

Megan Bruns, charity spokeswoman, said: "It's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction because it really doesn't prevent any children from being harmed.

"And as some of the parents have said, it could do more harm than good as it robs children of their praise which would boost their self esteem.

FA guidelines

"Paedophiles are much more likely to go to a park and try and approach children one-on one rather than go through a lengthy process.

"As long as a child's contact details aren't printed in a newspaper then there's no risk."

The FA produces guidelines for football clubs aimed at protecting children and providing best practice tips about the publication of players' names and pictures.

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