On Saturday 12th January 2019, Hampshire FA in partnership with Portsmouth FC will host a ‘Respect fixture’ for Portsmouth FC v Blackpool FC which will take place at Portsmouth FC’s home ground at Fratton Park, 3pm KO. This will provide Hampshire FA with yet another opportunity to publicise and promote the Respect programme to thousands of people present at the game.
To kick off the 2018/19 youth football season, The Football Association [The FA] has announced a renewed focus on the Respect campaign as it enters its ten year anniversary. Originally launched in the 2008/09 season, the campaign’s new mantra of ‘We Only Do Positive’ aims to improve behaviour on touchlines across the country by raising awareness of Respect amongst a new generation of parents, coaches, volunteers and players. The campaign follows extensive research carried out during the 2017/18 season to understand the effect of negative behaviour at football matches from Under 7s to Under 18s level more clearly, focusing on where Respect interventions would be most effective. We Only Do Positive’ is The FA’s new strategic approach to emphasise the role of parents and coaches whilst highlighting the importance of positive behaviours and environments – both on and off the pitch – for young footballers involved in mini-soccer and youth football. The FA’s Respect campaign aims to educate parents and coaches on their roles in creating a fun, safe and inclusive environment for players to ensure the campaign is embraced throughout the age groups and result in sustained participation from players and volunteers alike.
Hampshire FA fully endorses and supports the FA Respect programme and as such the county FA has several local initiatives in place to provide education and guidance on best practice procedures. The best practice procedures are sent to clubs and leagues and with their support, is then disseminated to players, officials, parents and spectators, ensuring all are fully aware of the programme and the positive impact it can have on the grassroots game.
The key aims and objectives is to ensure that respect initiatives are fully implemented to promote a safe, fun, enjoyable, friendly and Inclusive environment which aids to the enjoyment of the football experience. A group of volunteers along with Hampshire FA employees meet quarterly as part of a Respect & Safeguarding Sub Group Committee with the aim of promoting both Respect and Safeguarding in grassroots affiliated football. Initiatives include the delivery of a Respect Education workshop which is interactive to include a quiz on the laws of the game and expected behaviours from all participants and spectators, with educational video clips presented along with best practice information. The presentation lasts approx. one hour in duration and is available to any Hampshire FA affiliated club. The Respect Education workshop has been delivered in the county since 2015 to approximately 70 clubs and on average 2,100 participants.
“Hampshire FA is committed to eliminating bad behaviour detrimental to the grassroots game and fully supports and implements The FA's Respect programme in all areas. As a county FA, we have rolled out a series of Respect Education workshops to educate our members which continues to date and lead by the county FA Designated Safeguarding Officer; additionally we have supported and continue to support The FA's 'Set your stall out weekend', an initiative designed to promote Respect, which sees an appointed youth league deliver a variety of matches that fully endorses the programme with FA Respect banners, touchline barriers, Respect stewards and more to raise awareness and the profile of the programme". Hampshire FA CEO, Neil Cassar.
Within Hampshire affiliated youth leagues, Respect Steward Match Delegates were appointed at U7 and U8 age groups for season 2014-15 following on from the successful trial held in 2013-14. This has now increased further and there are Respect Steward Match Delegates at U7 through to the U12 age groups whilst some leagues have gone the extra mile to enforce this at every age group in the league. The Respect stewards are responsible for ensuring their own teams’ spectators fully comply with Respect designated spectator areas, are a visual point of contact for any concerns, enquiries or general assistance whilst also reminding supporters of their responsibilities while present at all times.
Additionally, this season the county FA hosted a Silent Weekend initiative which was rolled out to youth leagues as well as clubs in Hampshire. The Silent Weekend initiative was implemented to allow players to play the game with minimal vocal influence by parents, spectators, coaches and managers to see whether or not this had a positive impact on their game although cheering and applauding was encouraged for all participants. The second Hampshire FA Silent Weekend has already been scheduled for the Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd March 2019 with further details to be announced in due course.
Hampshire FA CEO, Neil Cassar.
Furthermore, Hampshire FA introduced its own Respect Award recognising one youth football league and one adult football league for their commitment to the Respect programme in the county; the annual awards are selected by the Respect & Safeguarding Sub Group Committee each year and are presented to two deserving leagues at the Hampshire FA Grassroots Football Awards which recognises unsung heroes in the grassroots game in Hampshire.
"I would like to extend a massive thank you to Portsmouth FC and Blackpool FC for their willingness to support the programme, this presents yet another a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to spread the message and its importance in front of a larger audience. I would also like to personally thank all the staff at Portsmouth FC and Pompey in the Community, particularly Colin Farmery, Clare Martin, Fiona Bristow and Mark Catlin for supporting the Respect fixture, for their organisation, preparations and efforts behind the scenes, working closely with us in the lead up to the game. A collaborative approach is required to achieve any goal and so I'd like to thank everyone involved for their contribution, I hope everyone’s efforts will be shown on the day”