Type of activity: Matches and tournaments.

Target group: Referees, players, parents and spectators.

Topic addressed: Violence in football.

Values created: Respect, positive attitudes towards the other, fairplay, responsibility.

Project impact: The Respect campaign was monitored for two seasons. Prior to Respect, in 2008, the number of affiliated referees was at an all time low.

In 2010 there were 26,692 registered referees, an increase of 7.4% compared to 24,852 in 2009.In 2009/10 assaults on match officials decreased by 13%. 40% of the 12,000 respondents of the County FA’s Grassroots Survey claim that their experience of football has improved with ‘Respect’ and that they experienced 66% less discrimination or touchline abuse.

Project Description

The respect programme is an ongoing initiative that aims to promote a positive and inclusive environment around football matches, focused in specific on improving the experience of referees.

Respect is largely aimed and implemented at youth football.

The programme includes four practical steps to improve behaviour:

- Step 1: Codes of Conduct - all playing members are made aware of their responsibilities

- Step 2: Manage the match day environment - create a playing environment that is fair, safe and enjoyable for all

- Step 3: The captain takes responsibility - Respect aims to stop abusive behaviour towards the referee; Only the captain can challenge decisions made by the referee and the captain needs to manage his/ her team.

- Step 4: The referee manages the game - referees are expected to work with team captains to manage the players’ behaviour on pitch and manage the game effectively and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by players (e.g. not move away from the incident, but stay and deal with it).

Main outputs

  • Step by step approach to dealing with violence and insolence
  • Promote teamwork between coaches and team players
  • Prevent referee harassment by implementing zero tolerance for assaults on referees
  • Improve on-field player discipline, particularly in the area of dissent to referees.

An online Respect module has now become a pre-course requirement for those undertaking the FA Level 1 coaching qualification.

About The Football Association

The Football Association is the governing body of association football in England, and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

They operate to improve all aspect of the game, including developing social inclusion programmes and creating opportunities for the participation of minority groups in football.