'Respect' not working for half of football community

Less than half of Respect logothe grassroots football community have witnessed an improvement in behaviour in matches since the Respect programme was introduced, a Club Website poll can reveal.

51 percent of Club Website users, including a significant number who have been playing under Respect guidelines, said that behaviour had been ‘no better’ since the programme was introduced by the English FA at the start of the 2008/09 season.

49 percent of respondents said that they had witnessed an improvement in their matches over the same period.

Food for thought

Whilst the overall figures show a fairly even split regarding the programme’s success, further analysis of the results provides food for thought for the FA.

Interestingly, of the 51 percent of people yet to witness an improvement in behaviour at grassroots level, a third of these (17.6% of the overall sample) have actually been playing games employed under Respect guidelines!

This raises questions about how well the programme has been implemented at grassroots level in England. Are some clubs simply not adhering to codes of conduct?  Are all referees controlling the game as requested?

Are pre-match meetings between captains, managers and referees happening? Maybe the pre-match ‘Respect handshake’ has been dropped since swine flu honed into view?

Without wishing to make light of the situation, it would be interesting to hear what detailed results the FA have obtained on the programme to date.

Poll - Respect

Has 'Respect' had a positive influence on behaviour in your grassroots football matches?

They have been making positive noises about its success but we’re yet to hear any real detailed analysis about what’s working and what isn’t.

Positive note

On a more positive note for the governing body, of the 49 percent of people responding positively to the survey, over a quarter of these (14% of all respondents) had witnessed an improvement in behaviour despite not playing under official Respect guidelines.

This indicates that simply raising awareness of the issue by introducing Respect has improved behaviour in areas wider than those centrally targeted, which must surely please the FA.

What do you think about the success of the Respect programme to date?  Have your say in our comments field below.

Club Website poll result:

Has the Respect programme had a positive influence on behaviour in your grassroots football matches?

– Yes. We play officially under the Respect banner and behaviour has improved. 34.6%
– No. Behaviour is no better than before Respect came about. 33.6%
– No. We even play under the Respect banner and things are still no better!  17.6%
– Yes. We don’t play officially under Respect rules, but behaviour has improved since it started. 14.2%

Total votes: 4,408

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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. Alan Greeenwood on November 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Well Well what do people expect from the Respect Campaign? The former FA Supremo Brain Barwick stated that the campaign should start at the grassroots and work its way up to the premiership, if some was to get to grip with Scudamore untouchables in the premiership start there and work down. Players bad mouthing Referees as seen at every televised game young players take the pros to be model and no doubt will use the excuses that the pros do, pro players who dive and Managers who have their own watches when they are not winning all had up to frustration to young players on the park. Lancashire FA will hold a youth League meeting on the 10th November to try and convince people in junior football that one of the ways forward will be to make non competitive football for under 9s & 10s and give them week ends off for better coaching etc.
    I wait with baited breath for the outcome.

  2. Tim Lansdown on November 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    How on earth has the respect programme got a chance when the chairman of our junior football club says he sees nothing wrong with 2 adults swearing at each other on the sidelines as long as they dont direct it at the referee or the children, a positive leader if ever I saw one.

  3. cliff sturmey on November 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    The Respect programme since speaking to Andy Townsend on his sunday radio show and he complained I was negative to the F.A. initative, we at North Holmwood F.C. have tried to implement the guidelines, but you need the organisations such as the league authorities to back up official complaints and not use excuses that you need more than one club to report abuse. Despite detailed repots to the league our reward was for the relevant league to advise all Sussex teams not to play the Under 12’s last season, and there after contacted the Surrey clubs, this despite the fact that we attended an Assistant Referees course, where it was spelt out to us through the main FA representative working for the Surrey FA, and affiliated to the Sussex FA referees society, we received no response at the time of our attendance this person was going to West Ham the following monday to teach the West Ham players the rules of the game (we can name and shame if necessary), we were assured by this person that if we reported we would have the full backing.

    Having spoken with local Clubs on this subject matter, they cannot be bothered with the work load of paperwork of reporting.

    With this in mind the Respect programme is a complete waste of time.

  4. Bill Almen on November 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    It doesnt matter what is preached from the top it is about what is practised. Surely all clubs must take responsibility (I include pro clubs as well as grassroots) and sort themselves out. Around 7000 Referees are lost each season! Why? Abuse is given as the main reason so if YOU havent got a Ref next week ask yourselves why. Such as Rugby & Hockey players show respect so why not football? I would agree entirely that Pro football needs to take a lead, this it blatantly fails to do as seen by millions week in week out. If Fergie loses it is always the Refs fault. That man utd didnt score is always forgotten …. I support Hereford so no sour grapes here!! We all need to play a part and sort our own teams out!!

  5. Craig Canning on November 9, 2009 at 2:55 am

    I would love to see the Respect Campaign become a complete success at every level of football.

    I recently watched a game of Rugby and was comepletly in awe of the amount of respect the players gave the referee. He was in complete control and not one player disputed his decisions. He did not recieve abuse in any way, shape or form. no one argued with him, they all stood back to wait for a decision and then got on with it. The amount of respect the players had for the ref, each other and the game was fantastic.

    The problem in football and why referees take so much garbage is the amount of controversy, bad decisions and conning by players in mathes. It’s all too common to see professional players conning referees into making a wrong decision by, what can only be called, cheating. In my opinion a player who cheats has lost respect for the game and the officials and fellow players alike. This makes referees jobs harder and makes players frustrated. They blame the ref and vent their frustation his way. For me the worst thing in football is watching a pro player or manager give the ref or 4th official an earful of obscenities that can be easily lip read on TV across the country. Passion for the game is one thing, but complete disrespect for the man in charge…that’s another. And it has become part of our game.

    I think the Respect Campaign has a long way to go. And I hope it has the affect that we wish it to have.

  6. Tim Parsons on November 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Most comments are about Referees receiving abuse or disrespect when there are other more pressing and widespread issues of abuse and disrespect. In youth soccer almost every team I have played ignore the respect campaign ignoring rules and barriers and little has changed. There is no enforcement from the league or FA. For example many coaches deliberately do not contact an appointed referee in order that they can gain an unfair advantage by appointing their own “referee”. This is cheating and cheating is certainly disrespectful and a form of abuse. When children see cheating being re-inforced they believe that it is acceptable and will carry this through to their adult years. So the cycle of cheats and cheating is never broken. How about investing in enforcement of respect barriers and rules?
    Football is awash with money yet the grassroot clubs are fighting to continue to bring football to all. Never mind the premier league players setting an example ask the FA to truly invest in grassroots soccer financially and morally in order that the children start out positively and honestly.

  7. Doug Webb on November 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Respect? You’re having a laugh! I have seen no improvement whatsoever in behaviour of teams in my League. I have lost count of the times I as a team manager have been verbally abused and physically threatened by players at under 14 and 15 levels and what do their managers do about it? answer nothing! When I have asked that something be done all I have got for my trouble has been a volley of abuse. When I complained about it, my county FA slapped me with a bringing the game into disrepute charge. What price respect? Until some of these FA reps get off of their backsides and come down and see at first hand what we have to put up with nothing will happen. Having said that, the teams that have always had a good level of behaviour have remained so which seems to me to be a reflection on their style of management. I just won’t tolerate bad behaviour. There is no place in our game for it at all.

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