The Respect programme aims to allow referees to officiate and young people to participate in matches without being subjected to abuse by players, coaches, parents or spectators. It is an issue for the whole of football and it may take many years to change the win-at-all-costs culture. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions to ensure a positive environment in which football is enjoyed by all.
Parents have a big responsibility as part of the Respect programme. Respect is working to eradicate touchline abuse in football, and parents can play their part by agreeing to, and signing, their club's Code of Conduct and abiding by them throughout the season
Parents also have a responsibility for their children's behaviour. The players will also be asked to sign a Code of Conduct, and parents can encourage their children to adhere to the players' code.
Players are asked to sign a Code of Conduct to 'promise' to abide by a set of rules governing their behaviour as a player. Working together with the coach, captain and matchday referee, players have a major role to play to ensure a positive environment on this pitch – and off it. Players are asked to shake hands with the opposition and match officials pre- and post-match in a spirit of fair play.
Coaches have a hugely important role to play in Respect, as they are not only responsible for their own behaviour, but they can also influence that of their players and spectators too. On a matchday, coaches expected to work with players, parents and other spectators to allow the referee to manage the game without being subjected to abuse.
Referees need to work in partnership with the clubs they officiate, in particular with the captains on the pitch when managing player behaviour. Vitally, referees can provide post-match feedback regarding the behaviour of players, parents, coaches and other spectators, to help the clubs enforce their Codes of Conduct.
The Respect programme relies on clubs and leagues to take active steps to ensure high standards of conduct throughout their club or league.
Leagues can sign up to its members implementing the Respect interventions to create a positive environment. Once signed up as a Respect league, officials can continue to champion the Respect programme, and communicate the importance of Respect to their member clubs through meetings and bulletins.
Clubs can sign up to and enforce Codes of Conduct for their players, coaches, parents and spectators, which will set the standard for behaviour throughout their club. It is important that clubs take action if Codes are broken to send out a clear message that negative behaviour will not be tolerated.