Worthing Town Football Club has adopted RESPECT, The Football Association’s programme to address unacceptable behaviour in football, both on and off the pitch.
RESPECT is the collective responsibility of everyone involved in football, at all levels, to create a fair, safe and enjoyable environment in which the game can take place. It is the behavioural code for football.
On average, 7,000 referees quit football every year at because of the abuse they receive from players and from the sidelines. Lots of children also pack it in because of the attitude and actions of over-enthusiastic and pushy parents.
This is not just something that happens at other clubs. It happens at all clubs!
Regrettably, we've all seen or experienced it;
Spectators and players shouting abuse at the referee.
Parent shouting angrily at their child what to do.
Kids standing on the sideline taunting players.
Parents abusing the coach.
Spectators unwittingly shouting nonsensical instructions to their team and in the process confusing them.
In response, The Football Association’s Respect programme provides a series of tools for leagues, clubs, coaches, referees, players and parents from grassroots to elite football to ensure a safe, positive environment in which to enjoy the game.
The FA has also launched a free online Respect Parent Guide to highlight examples of poor behaviour and, more importantly, how it can be improved.
To see the Guide for Parents and Carers go to: www.thefa.com/respectguide/
Respect includes four practical steps to improve behaviour - on the pitch and on the sidelines - in and at matches throughout the country:
Step 1 - Codes of Conduct.
Step 2 - Designated Spectators' Area.
Step 3 - The Captain takes responsibility.
Step 4 - The Referee manages the game.
Codes of Conduct
Codes of Conduct aren't new, but often they are forgotten and not acted upon. Respect brings them to life.
By supporting and strengthening the Codes of Conduct with possible consequences. There is little point in having a set of rules if no action is taken if and when they're broken.
There are Respect Codes of Conduct for: (Please click the link to read the code)
Each Code explains what actions may be taken if the Code is broken. Although the Sussex County FA or The Football Association will deal with cases of reported misconduct, clubs and leagues also have a role to play in dealing with poor behaviour from players, officials or spectators.
Respect works on placing responsibility for their actions on individuals: break the Code, and bear the consequences.
Designated Spectators' Areas
One of the key elements of Respect in youth football is the creation of designated areas for spectators. This area can be marked by an additional line, the use of cones, a roped-off area or use of a temporary spectator's barrier.
It is normal practice at Worthing Town Football Club to have these areas marked approximately 1 metre from the pitch sideline, behind which spectators are requested to stand.
The Captain takes responsibility
Problems at matches often start when individual players are abusive towards the referee, which escalates in to several players confronting the referee at the same time - then it's anarchy.
Respect aims to stop this cycle before it starts. Only the captain can challenge decisions made by the referee and the captain needs to manage his/her team to ensure this is always observed.
A Respect captain's armband will be provided to the captain for ease of identification.
In some cases a youth team may not have an individual that is mature enough to take on this enhanced captaincy role. In such cases, a common sense approach should be taken which may involve the referee working with a team manager rather than an on-field captain.
The Referee manages the game
The referee will be expected to work with the team captains to manage the players and the game effectively. They must apply the Laws of the Game and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by players.
While recognising that players may on occasions appeal for a decision, a throw-in, corner or goal-kick, it is important to distinguish these from the act of dissent which should be punished with a caution.