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Respect is The FA’s programme to address unacceptable behaviour in football – on and off the pitch.


On average, thousands of referees quit football every year at because of the abuse they receive from players and from the sidelines. Lots of children also pack it in because of the attitude and actions of over-enthusiastic and pushy parents.


In response, The FA’s Respect programme provides a series of tools for leagues, clubs, coaches, Referees, players and parents from grassroots to elite football to ensure a safe, positive environment in which to enjoy the game.


These tools include agreed codes of conduct, in-service training for Referees, Respect club packs, designated spectator areas and ensuring captains work with referees to manage player behaviour.


The FA has also launched a free online Respect Parent Guide to highlight examples of poor behaviour and, more importantly, how it can be improved.


The latest campaign in the Football Association’s Respect programme aims to help further reduce levels of anti-social behaviour both on and off the pitch. The hard hitting ‘Are you Losing it?’ campaign targets abusive grassroots players and parents, and encourages disaffected team-mates and spectators to put a mirror up to those most in need of a wake up call for their bad behaviour.


Become part of Respect


The FA is inviting every league in the country to sign-up to the principles of Respect and to introduce some practical steps at club level to ensure football is played in a safe, positive environment.


The programme is free to join and there are resources available to support clubs to introduce Respect.


The Respect programme includes four practical steps to improve behaviour - on the pitch and on the sidelines - in and at matches throughout the country:


Step 1: Respect Codes of Conduct


There is a Code of Conduct for each of the five main types of football participant: Young Players, Adult Players, Spectators and Parents/Carers, Coaches, Team Managers and Club Officials, and Match Officials. Each Code explains actions can be taken if the Code is broken.


Step 2: Designated Spectator Areas


The FA recommends you introduce marked areas along the touchlines, within which spectators must stay. The idea behind this is to encourage parents and spectators to take a step back from the pitch and support the teams in a more responsible manner.


Step 3: Captain taking responsibility


There will be a drive to enhance captaincy skills, encouraging captains to take full responsibility for their players' actions and behaviour.


Step 4: Referee managing the game


There will be a similar drive to enhance referees' match management skills - to create an environment where potential problems are addressed before they escalate.


This is supported by an education programme, with Respect modules being added into all FA Learning courses.


My role in Respect


Respect affects the entire game, and needs your help, regardless of how you are involved in football.


 • Player

 • Coach

 • Referee

 • Parents and Spectators

 • Club and League Officials

 • Club Welfare Officers

 • Youth League Welfare Officers

 • County FA Welfare Officers




Whether you're in the starting team or on the bench, your role as a player is crucial to the success of Respect.


On a matchday, you'll be expected to work with your coaches and your captain to allow the referee to manage the game without being subjected to abuse. With the game losing thousands of referees from the game every year, it's hugely important, because without the referees, the game isn't the same.


If the league you play in adopts the Respect programme, you will be asked to read, agree to, and sign, a Code of Conduct at your club. This will be your 'promise' to abide by a set of rules governing your behaviour as a player. Working together with your coach, your captain, and each referee that takes charge of your games during the season, you can play a major role in improving the game for everyone, through Respect.


The captain's role


As your team's captain, you have a vital role to play in helping us achieve the number one priority for footballers in The FA's biggest-ever survey of grassroots football - a referee for every game.


Thousands of referees are dropping out each season because of the abuse and intimidation they receive. It ruins games and can cause matches to be abandoned. Then we've all lost.


Captain taking responsibility


As a captain, you have no special status or privileges under the Laws of the Game, but you do have a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of your team.


To promote Respect, the referee will work with you, as the team captain, to manage the players and the game effectively.


Even if you are some way away from an incident when the referee feels he/she needs you involved in a discussion with a player, the referee will call you over. This will ensure that, as the team captain, you remain the point of contact for the referee.


How Captains can help to instil Respect:


 • Ensure you wear a Respect captain's armband - these will be provided by your league to your club

 • Together with your opposition captain, make yourself known to the referee before the game. He/she will ask if

    you are clear about your responsibilities

 • Ensure all your players understand what they can/cannot do in relation to the referee and what is meant by  

   'unwanted behaviour'. No-one's trying to curb enthusiasm - just instil more discipline. This can only benefit your

   match - and football as a whole

 • Ensure your vice-captain (appoint one if you haven't got one) is aware of these rules, in case you are unavailable  

    for a game, or have to leave the field

 • Ensure every player in your team has signed the Respect Code of Conduct


"It's not enough to be a great player to be a captain. You have to be a great leader who commands and shows Respect." Fabio Capello, England Manager.




Coaches have a hugely important role to play in Respect, as they are not only responsible for their own behaviour, but they can also influence that of their players and spectators, too.


On a matchday, you'll be expected to work with your players, parents and other spectators to allow the referee to manage the game without being subjected to abuse.




The Respect programme aims to allow Referees to officiate matches without being subjected to abuse by players, coaches or spectators - and the referees themselves have a key part to play in the process.


Working in partnership with the clubs they officiate, referees can provide post-match feedback regarding the behaviour of players, parents, coaches and other spectators, to help the clubs enforce their Codes of Conduct.


Parents & Spectators


Parents have a big responsibility as part of the Respect programme.


Respect is working to eradicate touchline abuse in football, and parents can play their part by agreeing to, and signing, their club's Code of Conduct and abiding by them throughout the season.


Parents also have a responsibility for their children's behaviour. The players will also be asked to sign a Code of Conduct, and parents can encourage their children to adhere to the players' code.


Club & Leagues


The Respect programme relies on clubs and leagues to take active steps to ensure high standards of conduct throughout their club or league.


Leagues can champion the Respect programme, and communicate the importance of Respect to their member clubs through meetings and bulletins.


Club officials can sign up to and enforce Codes of Conduct for their players, coaches, parents and spectators, which will set the standard for behaviour throughout their club.

Links & Downloads

Respect Referees Guide

Respect Guide For Adult Clubs

Respect Guide Adult Players

Respect Guide For Leagues

Respect Guide For Captains

Respect Guide For Captains 2

Respect Guide Spectators & Parents/Carers

Respect Guide Coaches Managers &: Officials

Respect Guide Match Officials

FA respect