Is the 'Respect' programme working?

‘Respect’ is the English FA’s programme launched at the start of the 2008/09 season with the aim of improving behaviour in football.

Following a high-profile launch at the start of the season and much publicity since, ‘Respect’ has been a buzz word in football this season, featuring prominently in discussion on the game, with opinion seemingly divided on the matter.

Howard Webb, the current number one ranked referee in England, said recently that in his own games that player’s behaviour has been markedly better, whilst also welcoming the introduction of the programme at grassroots level, where around 7,000 referees have been walking away from the game in recent years.

Whilst agreeing that Respect has had some positive impact at grassroots level, top ex-referee Graham Poll believes that the programme is on a hiding to nothing until the FA are in a place to back their referees properly.

Poll believes that there has been a ’dereliction of duty at the top level’ and that the FA are ’doing everything they can to appease players and clubs’ in the top flight.

He believes that the Premier League dictate to the FA what goes on and, as a result, ’referees are too weak because they are encouraged to be weak’. This in turn affects the grassroots game, says Club Website’s refereeing expert, as ’players see it time and time again on the TV’ and then replicate it in their own games.

Have your say

So what do you think about the Respect programme so far? Have you noticed a change in your own grassroots matches? And do you agree with Graham Poll or Howard Webb about the effect of the campaign in the top flight?

Let us know your thoughts! Feel free to email us your comments on this issue at [email protected]. Remember, it’s your Club Website, it’s your shout!

Put your grassroots refereeing queries to Graham Poll

Club Website have teamed up with Graham Poll to answer your queries over refereeing decisions in your grassroots matches. Who better to clear up a disputed decision from your weekend game?

If you’ve got a question for Graham, email it to [email protected]. The best questions are answered each month in The Club House and the top questions wins a signed copy of Graham Poll’s bestselling book “Seeing Red”.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer

Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.


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  1. […] To read more on the arguments of these two top referees, click here. […]

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