Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 14:05 UK

Ripon junior football club in child shower ban

Officials say children's welfare must be a priority

A North Yorkshire junior football club is not letting players use its showers because of child protection concerns.

Ripon City Panthers said it did not want to run the risk of photographs of children being taken which could end up on the internet.

The showers are part of facilities at the club's Hell Wath Play Fields which were refurbished five years ago.

John Riordan, of the West Riding County Football Association, said the safety of children was "paramount".

The club has about 230 children aged eight to 16.

Child welfare officer at Ripon City Panthers, John Watson, said: "With the use of camera phones nowadays, we don't want a situation arising where a child's photograph should turn up on the web somewhere when they have been using the shower.

Welfare 'safeguarded'

"It's just to safeguard the children's welfare."

Pete Coleman, the club's voluntary recruitment officer, said: "It is a shame in one respect, but it is health and safety, child protection. You have got to be on the ball all the time."

Mr Riordan said most junior football players left matches in their playing kit without asking to use the showers.

He added that children's welfare had to be "paramount".

Mr Riordan said: "It is not good practice to allow people to use mobile phones and cameras in changing facilities."

He added that if Ripon Panthers received a specific request from a parent for their child to use the shower then they would be able to, with the parent's supervision.

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