In order to recognise and reward inspirational individuals, leagues and clubs and to identify good practice as to how Respect can be progressed by anyone, The FA has held its Respect Awards for the last seven years.
And the Awards offer something for every level of the game from local grassroots leagues right up to the top flight of the professional game.
The Premier League – West Ham United FC
Having established themselves as a Premier League club and looking forward to their occupancy of the Olympic Stadium, West Ham United will also play European football after finishing top of the Premier League Fair Play table.
The Premier League – Supporters Award – Liverpool FC
The supporters of Liverpool Football Club are world famous for their devotion to the club and their fair-minded appreciation of good football. In the 2014-15 campaign, its fans continued to offer their passionate and positive support which was judged the best in the league.
Football League – Championship – Charlton Athletic FC
This award goes to the Addicks for demonstrating the ability to play in a very competitive league, in a manner which promotes both Fair Play and Respect.
Football League – Division One – Walsall FC
Walsall have now won this award for a second year.
Football League – Division Two – Exeter City FC
Exeter City have now won this award for a second consecutive year, emphasising that Fair Play has been embedded into the playing culture of the club. They also achieved the best score across the three divisions of the Football League.
Bobby Moore Individual Awards – Mohammed Zafran
It’s long been recognised that football has the power to change lives and few people have made better use of this than Mohammed Zafran. Following the murder of his brother, ‘Zaf’ decided to respond to this tragic event by engaging with local young people, many of who were involved in gangs, and setting up football and cricket sessions to offer them a positive way to engage with the local community. Zaf has since persuaded many previously alienated young people to return to education or employment and he’s been involved in numerous schemes and initiatives. He has also initiated a women’s sport academy, focusing on engaging Asian women. Zaf has won the Pride of Birmingham Award and the National Diversity Award 2014 for his inspirational work in British sport. He has turned a calamity into inspiration and the biggest tool he has had is his smile.
County FA Nominations
The FA’s 50 County FAs are actively involved in the promotion of Respect to their affiliated members. Kent CFA has won the award this year for their ongoing work with their 34 Respect Leagues, but most of all through their willingness to work with adult leagues to devise Respect measures that would be meaningful for them. The CFA has introduced regular disciplinary reporting back to its leagues, which allows them to focus their attention on problematic clubs. The Kent CFA Youth Council also devised their own project and video in response to a widespread concern at some of the language being used in adult football.
National League System – Steps 1-4
For the fifth year in six, the Northern Premier League (NPL) have taken this award. Although the National League (formerly The Football Conference) also carried out some excellent work this season, the NPL are the only league in Steps 1-4 with under 400 dissent cautions for three divisions and achieved further improvements in Technical Area behaviour and a reduction in Foul and Abusive dismissals. Impressively driven by Phil Bradley, the NPL targeted those clubs with high levels of dissent cautions last term and achieved reductions in 2014-15 in virtually all cases. The panel also noted the investment of the previous year’s prize money back into Fair Play Awards.
NLS/Women’s Pyramid Leagues – The FA Women’s Premier League
The FAWPL was formed at the start of the season by integrating five previously separate leagues together, each with differing approaches to Respect. The approach taken by the league has been to comprehensively integrate Respect into every aspect of its operation. Player registration requires the signing of a Code of Conduct and you cannot play unless this has been signed. Respect is an ongoing agenda item at every league meeting and included in briefing for new clubs. The League Committee target their attention on the worst performing clubs whilst also celebrating the best with monthly and annual Respect Awards. The League has followed an ‘educate, cooperate, eradicate approach’ and are now delighted to see more and more examples of ‘self-policing’ taking place to maintain its high standards.
National League System Steps 1-4 (Clubs) – Curzon Ashton FC
Curzon Ashton have led the way in disciplined self-control at the senior levels of the National League System for a number of years. Having incurred six dissent cautions in 2012-13, the club imposed an even stricter code of conduct for the following season which then led to no dissent cautions or dismissals for foul and abusive language. This season the club couldn’t quite repeat that remarkable feat, but a total of two dissent cautions in two seasons is very impressive. This was achieved against a backdrop of continuous pressure on the players as they won the First Division North title in 2013-14 and finished as Play-Off winners for promotion to the Football Conference this term.
Also commended: Soham Town Rangers
For the second year running, Soham Town Rangers have come top in the Ryman League Respect table. Last season, they recorded just one Respect disciplinary point, which was for bench behaviour whilst this campaign the club recorded zero points for bench and player misbehaviour after completing a 46-game league programme without a single caution.
National League System Steps 5-7 (Clubs) – Letcombe Football Club
The club are members of the UHLSPORT Hellenic League and compete in Division One at Step 6 of the National League System. The League operates a RESPECT & Fair Play Scheme in which the committee calls in those clubs with the worst performance. In January 2013 Letcombe were called in, having gained 33 negative points from 13 games. This proved to be a watershed moment and they’ve transformed their approach to the extent that now they have received only two negative RESPECT points for a single dissent caution in season 2014-15. They are now the best Respect club in the Hellenic league and have achieved this by informing the manager that he had to set the right example to the players, both in his pre-match team talks and on the touchline. A players meeting was also organised in which It was emphasised that dissent to officials would not be tolerated and could affect team selection. The biggest factor is the `club ethos’ - the club keep emphasising the Respect philosophy to the players and manager and it has become part of the club’s DNA.
Grassroots League Nominations – East Lancashire Football Alliance League
A commended finalist last year, the East Lancashire Football Alliance League (ELFAL) has won the award outright this year. It is evident that the league has taken The FA’s Youth Review as its starting point and above all, children have to enjoy their experience of football. Each season, the league inducts all new coaches in the required standard of behaviour and matchday environment the ELFAL strives to create. The ELFAL believe that the cornerstone is coaches that have undertaken FA Youth Modules and have supported this by helping 60 coaches to take this qualification. The use of technical areas and the ‘Adults in Football’ workshop run by the Lancashire CFA to educate adults as to what their children want from football also contributed. The league has supported a number of awareness campaigns and utilise a marking schemes whereby poor marks trigger a visit from the League Welfare Officer. A mentoring programme for young referees has contributed to 100% coverage in all games in the 7-18 age groups by a neutral referee. Most impressively of all, the environment they have created for parents as well as players has led to a growth in the size of the league from 226 to 366 teams.
Also commended: Greater Manchester Ability Counts Football League
This is a central venue league that has set about improving the matchday experience for a diverse group of players and their parents. Recognising the important role that football can play in the life of disabled players, the league has been led by Eric and Claire Callow and focuses upon creating a great environment in which games can take place and ensuring that fixtures are covered by qualified referees.
Grassroots Club Awards – Bengeo Tigers FC
The success of Bengeo Tigers is all the more remarkable given that three years ago, the club had amassed 250 penalty points in the course of a season. However through the determined work of the club committee and a willingness to confront difficult questions and individuals, the club has been transformed. Charter Standard Community status has been achieved, there has been an increase from 200 to 500 members and just 12 discipline points were amassed for the 2014-15 season. An initiative with Hertford Town has been seen to influence behaviour in adult football and the club is characterised by a comprehensive adoption of the Respect measures, with its teams all bearing the logo of their nominated charity Mudlarks and Children with Cancer UK on their shirts.