Is the Respect programme paying off?

20 percent drop in dissent cautions suggests the Respect programme is making a positive difference

New figures published by the Football Association suggest that the Respect programme has had a positive effect on discipline and behaviour across all levels of football in England.

Disciplinary figures from last season show that bookings for dissent were down 20 percent on the first season of the Respect programme in 2008/09. Overall bookings were down by four percent, dismissals by 13 percent and misconduct charges by 10 percent over the same period.

“Respect is the collective responsibility of everyone involved in football to create a fair, safe and enjoyable environment in which the game can take place,” said the FA’s Respect manager Dermot Collins.

“Launched in 2008, the Respect Programme has raised awareness of appropriate behaviour both on and off the pitch for players, coaches and spectators alike.”

The FAs stats cover 1,150 leagues across all levels of the game from the Premier League down to grassroots football, featuring 117,000 teams and an estimated 1.4m fixtures for the campaign.

The Respect programme was launched in 2008 to improve behaviour across all levels of the game and to address a decline in the number of people taking up refereeing in grassroots football. This decline has since been reversed, with the number of registered match officials up from 23,000 in 2008 to 28,204 – an increase of 23%.

Respect marks submitted by 112 FA Respect Leagues last season found an average mark for behaviour of 4.6 out of five, with the average mark for enjoyment at 4.4 out of five.

The Respect programme has improved youth football in England for many people with the introduction of designated spectator areas, Respect training for coaches, codes of conduct, pitch side marshals, parent briefings and visual Respect signage. Equipment to help implement Respect is currently available with 50 percent off for the 2014/15 season, courtesy of the Football Foundation.

The most recent Club Website poll on Respect, taken in September 2013, found grassroots opinion split on the issue. 50 percent of Club Website members said that behaviour had improved at their grassroots football matches since the Respect programme was launched in 2008, while 50 percent of the 2,044 people polled said it had not improved during that time.

Respect – FA stats

Data from the 2013/14 season showed the following changes compared to the 2008/09 season:

* Overall cautions down 4% (341,874 compared to 354,855)
* Dissent cautions down 20% (86,032 compared to 106,568)
* Percentage of cautions due to dissent down to 25% (from 30%)
* Overall dismissals down 13% (47,604 compared to 54,268)
* Misconduct charges related to team officials or spectators down 10% (17,969 compared to 19,938)

Is Respect working for you?

Do the FA’s figures match up to your experience of grassroots football last season? Has behaviour improved at your matches since the Respect programme was introduced in 2008? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please have your say in the comments section below.

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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. Geoff Cotter on July 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Yes the Respect campaign is working but it would be more effective at Grassroots if and when the Refs start applying it in the EPL. Red carding players that jostle round him, querying every decision. Swearing and even worst deliberately cheating by diving and pretending to be injured and the so called “professional foul”.
    Sort out all the shirt pulling and wrestling at defending corners as well, a couple of penalties and or red cards and they will get the message very quickly. Then little 8 yrs olds will have a real role model to play like and respect.

  2. Adrian Goodrum on July 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I do not play in grass roots football , only friendly 5 a side matches ( i.e. with no referee ). I believe the example has to be set at the highest level.
    The FA & premier league need to be bold and implement new guidelines for referees. Two obvious issues are players surrounding a referee to influence decision making. Only the team captain should be allowed to confer with the referee .
    When a freekick is awarded opposition players should automatically be booked for standing in front of the ball to delay the taking of those freekicks. It is dismissed as professionalism , but it is still a form of cheating.
    The world cup highlighted once again the disparity in issuing yellow cards for repeat offenders and sometimes “first ” offenders . Deliberate , repeated fouls to break up the flow of the game can easily , and fairly, be punished by implementing a team foul system. E.g. A yellow card should be awarded for every 5 fouls committed. But I would advise that referees be allowed to use video evidence to ensure that simulation has not been used to get a player booked.

  3. Amanda Borrino on August 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    My Grassroots club, Layton juniors football club in Blackpool, has just won the FA Respect and fairplay award for 2013/14. I am very proud to be a part of a club who works very hard in evaluating good and poor practice during games. The only way to raise standards in football is through education, it is very important for our players to shake hands after a bad tackle instead of maybe giving verbal abuse, or worse physical violence, this is only achieved with a pro active committee and a great bunch of managers, we are so much more than an organisation who delivers football development, I know we are making a real difference in showing players how to conduct themselves and giving them ket life skills. The Respect campaign is vital in football of all levels and we must ensure that we continue to support it, and never let it lapse.

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