Matthew, who was previously Finance Director of ENIC plc, has a wide range of expertise in the operational management of football clubs, having overseen ENIC’s investments in Slavia Prague, AEK Athens and Vicenza Calcio.
“When I joined the board at Tottenham just over a year ago, one of the things which struck me immediately was the amount of community projects and outreach work we were doing,” he told the FA's official website www.thefa.com
“We work with around 250,000 children a year — more than ever before — and it’s part of our social responsibility to make sure that all our staff are aware of their responsibilities.
“With this area of the game growing so much, it seemed the right time to put a whole structure for child protection in place. We appointed Angela Seymour as our Child Protection Officer two years ago and have now introduced the whole process into the club.
“I felt, however, that it needed to be led from the top. If I have a clear understanding of safeguarding and child protection it can be filtered down to the rest of the staff who will have absorbed the guidelines set out in our Child Protection Staff Handbook which promotes good practice, a safeguarding ethos and a child-centred perspective.
“I’d read the child protection booklet, and when I came to doing the course I soon realised that a lot of it is very much common sense as to what you should and shouldn’t do.
However, it makes you appreciate how many grey areas there are where you have to use your judgement - not just in terms of when it is appropriate to put an arm around a child to console them or the advisability of giving lifts to children.
“Child protection is now part of our constitution but it is important that we don’t rest on our laurels. We’ve now appointed Kathryn Robinson as our new Director of Community Development, and together with Angela they will continue to improve our safeguarding and child-focussed structure and ensure best practice. When it comes to children, nothing less is acceptable,” he emphasises.
Matthew is certain that his experiences will only benefit the club as a whole, and it has made him even more determined to make sure that every player and staff member working with children at Tottenham Hotspur gains an FA Child protection and best practice certificate in the near future.
A desire to set the right example from the top has seen our Finance Director Matthew Collecott gain The FA’s Child protection and best practice certificate.