FA Respect

Why football needs Respect

The FA is responding to a plea from grassroots football to tackle unacceptable behaviour in football. Respect aims to tackle the mass drop-out of referees from football due to abuse. Thousands of referees dropped out of the game last season which has led to the number of match officials hitting its lowest ever level.

Respect also aims to bring the fun back to football for young players. Parents and coaches pushing too hard and pressurising impressionable children for three points is having a negative impact on their development and enjoyment of the game.

• 98% of referees have been verbally abused and 27% have been physically abused.

• One in three grassroots matches is now played without a qualified match official.

• 846 grassroots matches were abandoned in 2007/08 due to unacceptable behaviour from players and/or spectators.

• Parents and coaches want role models in the elite game to provide a positive example for young players.

• The No.2 priority from grassroots football is tackling the ‘pushy parent’ placing too much pressure on their child and their child’s team from the sidelines.

What is Respect?

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.

Respect is a continuous FA programme, not a one-off initiative.

What do we want to achieve with Respect?

1. There will be a base of registered referees in England sufficient for the demands of the game at every level.
2. There will be zero tolerance for assaults on referees.
3. There will be an improvement in on-field player discipline, particularly in the area of dissent to referees and in competitions that have an established record of poor discipline.
4. There will be a ‘step change‘ in youth football on what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour from parents and spectators.
5. We will work with coaches to create an enjoyable learning environment for children’s football.