Effective teamwork is key to footballing success – on and off the pitch. Mutual respect and understanding are both vital ingredients. Bullying is not.
Bullying – as opposed to banter – has no place in the safe and positive environments we all want to exist across grassroots football.
Having a clear understanding of how ‘banter’ can cross the line and become bullying is important for every club. That’s why The FA is supporting Anti-Bullying Week, co-ordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. The Anti-Bullying Alliance are inviting coaches, welfare officers, parents and carers to get involved by starting positive conversations in their football clubs.
The Alliance defines bullying as: “The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological. It can happen face-to-face or online.”
Meanwhile, banter is: “The playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.”
Anti-Bullying Week takes place between Monday 13th and Friday 17th November and as Martha Evans, Director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance says: “This Anti-Bullying Week, we want to make a noise about bullying and focus on how to recognise playful banter while empowering young people to speak up when the line is crossed.”
How can your club get involved?
1. Make a noise: Clearly communicate that your club won’t tolerate bullying. Make sure your club’s anti-bullying policy is easily available, whether online and/or printed. If you don’t have a policy, use The FA’s suggested club anti-bullying policy template here.
2. How to report concerns: Make sure all parents/carers know how to report concerns – and to whom – if they have them.
3. Parent/carer resources: Signpost parents/carers to the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s resources for starting conversations with their children about bullying. You’ll find these resources here.
4. Odd Socks Day: Join the fun by wearing odd socks during any day of the week to celebrate difference. You can find out more about ‘Odd Socks Day’ here.
Share your activity: Let football know how your club is promoting Anti-Bullying Week and Odd Socks Day on social media. Tag us and use the hashtags #AntiBullyingWeek, #MakeANoise and #OddSocksDay.
To find out more: Go here to learn more about Anti-Bullying Week. By making a noise against bullying, you’ll be playing a key role in creating a culture of effective teamwork at your club.
“Ultimately, our support of Anti-Bullying Week is one of a wide variety of components towards creating safe and positive environments across football,” says Sue Ravenlaw, The FA’s Head of Safeguarding. “It’s also part of helping grassroots clubs create a healthy culture of teamwork in every activity they undertake.”