Football ref from Northampton sent certificate for child safeguarding course he had never attended

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A referee was sent a Football Association certificate to say he was a proper person to be in charge of children... even though he had not attended the training.

Andrew McGuinness, aged 53, from St James, had enquired about the safeguarding children workshop, which he wanted to attend as part of his professional development.

He heard nothing more so was surprised to then receive a letter congratulating him on passing the course along with an official FA certificate.

The certificate claimed Mr McGuinness had been tutored in recognising signs, indicators and forms of abuse.

And the letter says: “We hope that the course has given you an insight of the responsibility that football has to help protect the welfare of young children.”

Mr McGuinness said: “I’m concerned that someone could have pretended they are aware of how to keep children safe and be put in a responsible position, using this as evidence.

“When I called the FA they seemed unconcerned and I don’t think they really believed me, but it’s a serious issue.

“What if I’d decided not to tell them?”

Since he received the certificate, Mr McGuinness has been in touch with the FA several times and has now received an apology.

The FA told him it was a human error and it is not their policy to send out certificates regardless of whether someone has attended.

The Fa has been approached for a comment.