Prince William presents first Respect Awards
Clubs, leagues and individuals praised at inaugural Respect Awards.
FA President, His Royal Highness Prince William, praised those clubs, leagues and individuals within the game who have continually sought to promote high standards of behaviour both on and off the pitch.
On FA Cup Final day at Wembley, he presented winners with the first ever Respect Awards including the Barclays Premier League and Football League Fair Play Awards.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, he said: “Unfashionable as the word may sound, sportsmanship underpins everything good and worthwhile about our national game. What is so important about these Respect and Fair Play Awards is that they acknowledge and reward those who play fair and encourage fair play – true sportsmen and women.
“Everything about why I wanted to become President of The Football Association is encapsulated by what the winners this afternoon represent. Whilst I remain President of The FA, promoting sportsmanship and stamping out the deplorable scenes that have blighted our game in the past, will be my goal.”
Twelve categories of Awards were recognised including the prestigious Bobby Moore Award, which was presented to Malcolm Lee from Liverpool by the Prince and Bobby’s widow Stephanie Moore MBE, patron of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK and an Awards Judge.
Commenting on Malcolm’s contribution to the sport, she said: “I was delighted to see Malcolm Lee presented with the inaugural Bobby Moore Award for his amazing contribution to the game in his native Merseyside. The passion he’s shown for grassroots football over the last 20 years is truly inspiring.
“Bobby would have been so honoured to see The FA recognising someone like Malcolm in this way, and proud to have it done in his name.”
Judges included sports journalists Mick Dennis of the Daily Express and Jim White of the Daily Telegraph, as well Paddy Harverson of Clarence House and Stephanie Moore MBE of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK. They were joined by The FA’s Sir Trevor Brooking (Director Of Football Development), Jonathan Hall (Director of Football Services), Barry Bright (FA Council Member) and Alex Welsh of the London Playing Fields Association.
The winner of the Barclays Premier League Fair Play League was Arsenal. Doncaster Rovers, Wycombe Wanderers, Rochdale and Crewe Alexandra were recognised as leaders in fair play in the Coca-Cola Football League.
Speaking after the Awards, The FA’s Respect Manager Dermot Collins said: “We are honoured that The Prince has presented these Awards at Wembley today which recognise those individuals who seek to tackle some of the most difficult aspects of the game. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote those individuals and organisations that make football the most popular sport in the country.”
Since its launch in 2007, The FA’s Respect programme has helped achieve a real improvement in behaviour on and off the pitch from the top of the professional game through to the grassroots.
The highlight of the season to date has been the 9 per cent increase in the number of qualified referees with the number having risen to 25,502, compared to the same period for 2008/09. There has also been a 45 per cent increase in the recruitment of referees at Level Nine – the first step on the road to becoming a fully-fledged referee – with 5,197 new recruits taking to the field up and down the country.
Results for 2009-10 have shown that in the professional game, dissent cautions are down on figures from the same period in 2008-09. For all 1200 FA affiliated Leagues cautions are down by 5 per cent, Dismissals down by 1 per cent, Misconduct down by 5 per cent, Dissent Cautions by 5 per cent.