England captains Harry Kane and Steph Houghton make our Pledge of Positivity

Friday 28 Feb 2020
Steph Houghton and Harry Kane have made their Pledge - will you?

England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane became the first people to make our Pledge of Positivity, encouraging others to follow suit.

We’ve today launched the ‘Pledge of Positivity’ which asks parents and spectators involved in U18s grassroots football to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.

A recent survey conducted by The FA and Nielsen found 88 per cent of over 1000 grassroots participants cite parents as a driver of disrespect in grassroots football.

To have an impact on this off-pitch behaviour, we’ve launched the Pledge of Positivity, encouraging those on the sidelines to support all players involved and respect referees, coaches and other spectators.

And the two England skippers also penned a joint letter to parents and spectators, which was painted into the touchlines at their childhood clubs - Harry’s Ridgeway Rovers in Essex and Steph’s Boldon Girls in South Shields, ahead of last weekend’s youth team matches.

The letter highlights the importance of positive support and the role it played in their own footballing development, from the grassroots game all the way to Wembley.

“As parents and spectators, it’s our job to make sure that children enjoy playing football,” said Kane, a father of two.

“The pitch should be a place of support and encouragement. Youngsters should never feel pressure or intimidation from the sidelines, so I’m delighted to add my name to the Pledge of Positivity and I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to do the same.”

And Lionesses captain Houghton added: “Positivity is essential in football. It’s important to create an environment where everyone enjoys playing. There are small things you can do on the touchline – like applauding good play from both teams – that has a big impact on young players.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “Having coached grassroots football for the last five years, I’ve seen first-hand the huge impact that parents on the sidelines can have on players from both a positive and negative point of view.

“It’s no surprise that kids play better in a positive environment and our research has confirmed this impacts 90 per cent of players.

“It’s crucial that we create an atmosphere where players are encouraged rather than abused, for their enjoyment of football as well as their mental health. I urge others to join me in making this pledge and showing their support for kids’ football.”

Take our Pledge of Positivity

The Pledge is based on The FA’s RESPECT behavioural code of conduct which seeks to improve behavioural standards in football.

Our Respect campaign was re-launched ahead of the 2018-19 season, having been originally launched in the 2008-09 season, with a new mantra of ‘We Only Do Positive’.

As a result, we’ve seen positivity in grassroots football rise with 88 per cent of tracked U12-U18s matches being played in a positive environment, a two per cent increase from the previous season.

The FA hope that the Pledge of Positivity will ensure that number continues to rise.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels