In 2008 The FA launched The FA Respect Programme following concerns about behaviour in the grassroots and professional game. A National survey outlined the key concerns within football were a lack of role models at the top of the game, 'pushy parents' at the side of the pitch and abuse towards referees at all levels of the game. Since 2008 participants of grassroots football have been invited to sign up to support the Respect Programme and implement it locally within their footballing community.
To implement the Respect Programme, The FA and local County FA's provide tools to help ensure a safe and positive environment in which to play the game. It is essential that those involved in grassroots football do what they can to ensure that positive behaviour is consistently being conveyed to players, spectators and all club officials. There are plenty of Respect Resources which will help you do this.
Here are some top tips in helping you implement the Respect Programme effectively.
Codes of Conduct
Respect Codes of Conduct are one of the most powerful resources available as they outline behaviour that is not acceptable. The Codes of Conduct include a sanctioning process to ensure action is taken if a rule is broken. There are individual codes of conduct for all roles in grassroots football, they have been broken down into the following categories:
- Young Players
- Adult Players
- Club Officials, Coaches and Managers
- Match Officials
Spectator Areas are designed to improve behaviour off the field by providing designated areas for those watching the game away from the field of play. In conjunction with the Codes of Conduct the spectator areas provide both physical and psychological barriers to inappropriate behaviour.
There should now be a designated Spectator Area in place at every junior football match in Derbyshire. It is the responsibility of the home side to set it up and inform the opposition and officials of its location. The Spectator areas can be made up of cones, or a white line and should be set up to meet the needs of the venue/pitch. It is the responsibility of the club to ensure parents/spectators remain within their designated area.
Promotion of Respect
There are many resources available to reinforce the message of Respect throughout the season. These resources will help maintain high standards by reinforcing positive messages.
There is an "Parent Online Guide" which is a free online resource focusing on the behaviour of a parents both before, during and after the game. It can be found by clicking here.
In 2012 The FA launched an interactive online resource called "Use Your Head" which provides many thought provoking films and activities. It can be accessed by clicking here.
Derbyshire County FA is available to deliver a Respect themed workshop to clubs/leagues. This is a fun and interactive workshop that focusses on the key areas of Respect and the specific roles of coaches, parents and players. The workshop can be tailored to suit individual clubs/leagues needs. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Cath Morton, Respect Lead Officer on 01332 3651422 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Positive messages to players
Everyone involved in grassroots football should encourage players to implement Respect and best practice. In adult football the match officials may have a briefing with captains to discuss how the game will be managed prior to kick off. The Referee may also use the captains throughout the game to help manage behaviour and prevent the awarding of any cards. The Referee may also adopt a Respect hand-shake before the game.
In junior football coaches should encourage their players to accept decisions, show respect to everyone involved and to shake-hands before and after the game.
It is essential that any behaviour that breaks the Respect Codes of Conduct is reported. Please contact your Club Welfare Officer or Cath Morton, County Welfare Officer/ Respect Lead Officer on 01332 361422 / email@example.com if you observe any inappropriate behaviour on or off the field.
“The Respect programme is the collective responsibility of everyone involved in the game.”