Gareth Southgate has added his name to our ‘Pledge of Positivity’ which asks parents, coaches and spectators involved in U18s grassroots football to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.
The England manager appears in a video demonstrating directly to parents the importance of positivity from the sidelines and the impact a negative coach can have on the enjoyment of those playing the game.
And having made the pledge himself, Southgate is encouraging others to follow suit via our online page.
The ‘Pledge of Positivity’ was launched in February this year, following a survey which found 88 per cent of over 1000 grassroots participants cite parents as a driver of disrespect in grassroots football.
Over 5000 grassroots coaches, parents and spectators followed England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane in making the pledge before the grassroots season came to a premature end in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
But with competitive grassroots football kicking-off again this month and the support of new partner Nationwide, we’ve relaunched the ‘Pledge of Positivity’, encouraging those on the touchline to support all players involved and respect referees, coaches and other spectators.
The Pledge is based on our RESPECT behavioural code of conduct which seeks to improve standards of behaviour in football.
“The impact of the approach to coaching young people affects not only their enjoyment of the game but also their possibilities of improving,” said Southgate.
“When you’re taking a positive approach with young players and reaffirming their good actions, it has a much bigger impact and they're much more willing to listen and learn from that rather than a negative approach and constant criticism.
“For parents and for coaches I think it’s so important to remember that children play grassroots football to enjoy it first and foremost, so we need to be supportive, positive where possible and remember that these are young kids playing a game that they love.”
We've seen positivity in grassroots football rise, with 89 per cent of tracked U12-U18s matches from the 2019-20 season being played in a positive environment, a three per cent increase from the previous season.
Nationwide was announced as a partner of the campaign last month and has committed to ensure that 1m parents and coaches engage with the Respect programme over the next three years to help build a more mutually respectful society both on and off the pitch.