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, which have been proven through research to be a significant deterrent to poor behaviour.
Codes of Conduct are already widely used in grassroots football and are mandatory for FA Charter Standard Clubs. Some Codes are successful, while some are forgotten and simply not acted upon. Respect brings them to life by supporting and strengthening the Codes of Conduct with possible consequences. There is little point in having a set of rules if no action is taken if and when they’re broken.
There are Respect Codes of Conduct for:
- Young Players
- Adult Players
- Spectators and Parents/Carers
- Coaches, Team Managers and Club Officials
- Match Officials
Each Code explains that actions can be taken if the Code is broken. Although the County FA or The FA will deal with cases of reported misconduct, clubs and leagues also have a role to play in dealing with poor behaviour from
players, officials or spectators. This can range from education, mentoring, official warnings, suspension or even exclusion from the club or league.
Respect works by placing responsibility on individuals for their actions: break your Code, and bear the consequences. Each Respect Code of Conduct explains that action can and will be taken if the Code is broken. Clubs have three main responsibilities around the Codes:
- To ensure everyone within the club (club members), whatever their role, has read, agreed and signed up to their relevant Code – and understands the actions, which could be taken if Codes are broken. The inclusion of Codes into the registration process of club members ensures that all playing members can be made aware of their responsibilities at the point of joining the club.
- To collect and retain the Codes so that they can be referred back to if an individual’s behaviour becomes unacceptable.
- To deal fairly and consistently with anyone who breaks ‘their’ Code.
If a club hasn’t used Codes of Conduct before – or has Codes without consequences – this needs discussion, so members understand how the Codes work and what their responsibilities are.
For FA Charter Standard Clubs or those clubs who have their own club Codes of Conduct, it is advised to adopt the new Respect Codes or revise existing codes to include any elements that may have been missed.
It is important for clubs to be clear about what it expects from its members and to educate people when guidance is required. Should this guidance be disregarded then the management of a club has the right to implement sanctions against offenders.