Respect is The FA’s programme to address poor practice and unacceptable behaviour in football – both on and off the field of play as such behaviour drives people away from the game.

Every year, because of the abuse they receive from players and from the sidelines, many referees quit the game. Many children also leave because of the attitude and actions of over-enthusiastic and pushy parents.

In response, the FA developed and introduced the Respect programme to provide appropriate tools for referees, leagues, clubs, coaches, players and parents from grassroots to elite football, to enable them to promote a safe and positive environment in which to enjoy the game.

These tools include Codes of Conduct, in-service training for Referees, Respect club packs, spectator sideline barriers and encouraging team captain’s to work with referees to manage player behaviour.

The FA also launched a free online Respect Parent Guide targeting youth football to highlight examples of poor behaviour and, more importantly, show how behaviour can be improved. The Respect Parent Guide is a free course which offers practical advice, hints and tips on what it takes to be a supportive soccer parent/carer and how to positively influence young players to be involved in the game. To access the Guide for Parents and Carers please click on this link

The FA have a guide designed specifically for Referees, click the link for more information

You will be asked to log-in using FAN and password – if you do not know your FAN contact Cumberland FA.  The course can also be completed without logging-in however the system cannot save ‘where you are at’ if you wanted to complete the course over a couple of days.

Become a part of Respect

The FA has invited everyone to sign-up to the Respect programme, notably Referees and has provided a range of Respect resources to support referees which can be accessed as follows:-

Visit the FA Respect area

Available resources include the ‘Match Officials Code of Conduct’ which should be read and sign-up to by every referee.
Another example of what is available is a Respect booklet aimed at youth football clubs. This can be directly accessed using the following link

The FA Respect Guide Booklet for Youth Football Clubs can be accessed at the bottom of the page.

This booklet provides referees with a clear understanding of what is expected within the youth game; and includes each of the four Codes of Conduct relating to adult players (16+), Young Players (aged 15 and under), Coaches/Managers/Club Officials and Parents/Carers/Spectators.

It is useful for a referee to be aware of those Codes of Conduct as they may remind a referee to submit a report to the County FA should he/she believe that a breach of a code of conduct has occurred at any particular fixture; and that it should be formally reported.

The Respect area of the FA website hosts many other sources of information relating to Respect. The referee is in a prime position to help positively influence how well Respect is implemented and adhered to by teams.

Referees are responsible not only for their own behaviour but also for the influence they can have upon the behaviour of players, club officials and spectators, by acting as a role model.

The Respect programme has introduced four practical steps at club level to ensure that football is played in a safe and positive environment.

Step 1: Respect Codes of Conduct
There is a Code of Conduct for each of the five main types of football participant:
Young Players (players aged 15 and under),
Adult Players (players aged 16 and over),
Spectators and Parents/Carers,
Coaches, Team Managers and Club Officials, and
Match Officials.
Each Code explains actions that can be taken if the Code is broken.

Step 2: Managing the match-day environment
The FA recommends the use of marked areas along the touchlines, within which or behind which spectators must stay (Designated Spectator Areas). This is to encourage parents and spectators to keep back from the pitch and support the teams in a more responsible manner. Designated spectator areas can be marked by an additional chalk line, the use of cones or by using touchline tape/rope barriers.

Step 3: Captain taking responsibility
There is a role for team captains to take increased responsibility for their players' actions and behaviour on the pitch however the age and understanding of a captain has to be taken into consideration here. The Referee will seek to work with team captains to manage the behaviour of the players of both teams.

Step 4: Referee managing the game
Referee’s must to be allowed to manage the game and they work with the team captains to manage the players and the game effectively.  On a match-day, as a referee, you will be expected to link to the team captains and coaches before the start of a fixture to inform how you expect the game to be played and in what atmosphere. 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. Respect marks can be entered on The FA Full-Time League Administration for those leagues that use it.