I write to you extremely concerned about the poor behaviour and indiscipline that is currently blighting the game in North Riding. So far during the month of October we have received a large number of reports of poor discipline, a number of which have resulted in the abandonment of matches.
Unfortunately, this behaviour is affecting all areas of the game – youth & adult; male & female. It is especially disappointing, for example, to hear of incidents taking place in matches involving U9s, where the fun, enjoyment and the development of players should be the priority of all involved.
To read a comment about a decision made by a young match official, “costing teams games”, in a development fixture involving 8 & 9 year old children (where the result is not published) makes me think that we have reached the point where a reset in the priorities of some clubs, coaches and spectators is urgently needed.
This poor behaviour involves players, managers, coaches and spectators, including parents. These aggressive and unsavoury actions are widespread and are affecting all those who participate in the game.
I am asking for the support of the football community in North Riding to take responsibility for helping us to eradicate poor behaviour from the game.
Clubs - please reiterate your club’s values, and the expectations of behaviour you have of all those who represent your badge.
Players - please respect your opponents and the match officials, accepting mistakes can and will happen during a game.
Managers / Coaches - please model positive behaviours to your players and spectators. Win, lose or draw make sure you are a good representative of your club.
Spectators - please offer support during the game to the players and match officials involved. Create an environment where the game is enjoyable.
North Riding FA will continue to pursue those individuals and clubs who are ruining the game for others, as a result of their actions. We will deal with any reported discipline issues in the strongest way possible, by the means available to us.
Over the coming months, we will be launching our own campaign to promote football being played in a positive environment and highlighting the unacceptable behaviours that need to be removed from the game. We have already recently launched our ‘Matchday Assistants’ initiative, where we are encouraging clubs to identify volunteers who can support in modelling good behaviours and help to provide a pleasant welcome to their opponents and match officials.
It is clear that there must be significant improvements over the coming weeks and months and I hope that we can all work together to achieve this for the good of football in our county.
Steven Wade, North Riding FA CEO