Last year over 1200 clubs and 100 leagues took part in The FA’s ‘Respect - Set Your Stall Out’ weekend.
This season, we will once again be providing a range of new Respect resources to help create a positive environment in which young people can learn to play the game.
For 2015-16, clubs and leagues are encouraged to make use of Respect posters, touchline lanyards, bootlaces, sweatbands, tattoos and armbands.
In addition to these resources, we will also use the opportunity to promote the existing Football Foundation Respect equipment scheme which provides touchline barriers, pitch marshall bibs, Respect signage, pitchside Respect boards, Respect badges and other promotional items at a 50 per cent discount.
These resources communicate clearly that young players will develop a life-time love of the sport and improved technical skills if their experience of the game is an enjoyable one.
Young players are competitive by their very nature, but most play with a sense of fairness and respect for opponents that isn’t always matched by some of the watching adults. Normally it’s the referee – and usually a young referee – that gets the criticism.
The FA’s Respect programme is now in its eighth season and although the volume of cautions are roughly the same, dissent cautions [abuse or back chat to referees] has declined by 23 per cent.
The consensus of many leagues and clubs is that the environment for young people to learn the game has been improved by the introduction of designated spectator areas, Respect training for coaches, codes of conduct, pitch side marshalls, parent briefings and Respect signage.
This improvement is reflected in a decline in all misconduct charges, dismissals and to everyone’s relief - assaults on referees.
There are now have approximately 27,000 registered referees, which is up from around 23,000 in 2008 and, more importantly, mentoring to young referees and the coverage of fixtures has improved considerably as has enjoyment of games.
"What these stats mean in reality is a more positive and enjoyable environment for the game to take place in," said Respect manager Dermot Collins.
"And because of this, it’s much more likely that we keep coming back week after week - whether as players, referees, volunteers, parents or spectators
"As it’s still early in the new season, we’d love to see clubs and leagues using our resources to send out clear, important messages about how they want to see grassroots Football being played and watched in this country."
The FA are keen to hear about YOUR experiences of ‘Respect – Set Your Stall Out’ so e-mail a picture to Respect.firstname.lastname@example.org