As a number of leagues have already started, and as others enter the last few weeks of pre-season before they get under way, Cumberland FA have undertaken a review of data from the 2022-23 season which suggests that whilst ‘good progress’ is being made, we must ‘stay focused and on task’ as we try to ensure ‘continued improvements’ in 2023/24.
A review of discipline data from the 2022-23 season, including comparisons with previous seasons as well as a review of the frequency of poor behaviour against the number of games played across the county suggests that 94% of all games in Cumberland last season were played in a Positive Football Environment.
The figures suggest that in 2022-23, compared to the previous season (2021-22):
• C2 and C2 Sin Bins (Dissent) were down by 44 cases from 21-22 (-16%)
• Dismissals (Red Cards) were down by 26 cases from 21-22 (-11%)
• Misconduct Charges (poor behaviour outside of red/yellow card, including off the field behaviour) was down by 25 cases from 21-22 (-26%)
• Failure to ensure that players, officials, spectators and/or supporters conduct themselves in an orderly fashion (general behaviour) was down 24%
• Improper Conduct Against Match Officials (includes abusive language/behaviour; threatening behaviour/language) was down by 48%
• There were no charges of actual or attempted physical contact or assault against a match official in 22-23.
In the county there were nearly 7,000 games played last season. So, given this and the discipline data this means that if we take the total number of cases from last season and then calculate against the number of games played, we can estimate that the proportion of undesirable behaviour means that:
• There was a sending off (dismissal) in less than 3% of games played
• 99% of games were played without serious incident or misconduct
• 95% of matches occurred without any poor behaviour directed towards Match Officials (Dissent, S6 – offensive, insulting abusive language and misconduct towards officials)
So, in total, this would suggest that 6% of all games played had an incident or display of poor behaviour (from dissent to serious cases) and this is obviously presuming that there was only 1 case per match (which we know to be untrue as often there are multiple charges in one game).
Which, in turn, means that we generally estimate that 94% of football in Cumberland is played within a Positive Football Environment.
Ben Snowdon, CEO and Lead for Cumberland FA’ work around Positive Football Environments and Respect, stated: “I would suggest that the data is direct contradiction to the general perception of grassroots football.
"It does provide some important context and reminds us that most people are well behaved, and that the large majority of games played within grassroots football within Cumberland are played in a positive football environment.
"However, we are not resting on our laurels and, as we are out there attending and observing games, are well aware that there is still a problem with a small percentage of people/clubs displaying undesirable or unacceptable behaviour, and so there is more work to be done.
"Our view remains that one serious incident or negative experience could impact an individual so deeply that they walk away from the game forever. I would like to think that the figures are also a reflection of the commitment of and the work undertaken by our leagues, clubs and match officials to protect the game that we love.”
Last season, 40 clubs signed up to Cumberland FA’s ‘Join the Wall’ initiative to reaffirm their commitment to a positive football environment, taking responsibility for actions within their own clubs to protect the game and ensure that more people become involved and remain within grassroots football.
Find out more about the Join the Wall initiative here
TO ACCESS THE FA'S RESPECT RESOURCES, PLEASE CLICK HERE