On Sunday 29th March, clubs who play in the Derby Junior Football League will be providing spectators with RESPECT mouth covers, acting as a visual prompt to stay quiet while watching kids play football.
The campaign slogan is ‘#LetThemPlay’, a message which echoes the winning Derbyshire FA safeguarding poster from 2019, where a young footballer explained that he “wished they would just let me play”.
A silent weekend involves minimal verbal contact from coaches and spectators, aiming to create a fun, safe and developmental experience for all children in youth football.
It will allow the kids to make their own decisions, and lets them play the game with freedom, without pressure or over-emphasis on winning at all costs.
The Derbyshire FA still encourage spectators to celebrate young players’ achievements, so applause for goals and examples of good play are welcome.
The scheme asks clubs and teams to publicise their involvement in advance, and for managers to inform opponents before the match and encourage their participation too.
Referees will be encouraged to address persistent infringements with a reminder of the purpose of the weekend, during an appropriate break in play.
Adam Wing, Football Development Officer at the Derbyshire FA, said: “This is a really good initiative, and we hope that we’ll see children flourish in the environment.
“We want to make sure that we still celebrate good play and encourage children when they do well, so we still want you to cheer them on, the campaign is more about letting them play undistracted and enjoy their football.
“I’m sure the day will be a great success and spectators will be engaging and supportive.”
Representatives from Derbyshire FA will also be on hand and to encourage full support of the initiative, to answer any queries and to respond to feedback.
Get the message out to your coaches, teams, parents and spectators that you are taking part, all in the name of RESPECT.
The mouth covers can be printed off below, for you to cut to shape to and distribute on matchday.
Show your support for the campaign by posting pictures of you with your mouth cover, and use the hashtag ‘#LetThemPlay’ to help spread the word.
For more information, contact Adam Wing at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01332 361422.
DOWNLOAD YOUR RESPECT MOUTH-COVERS HERE