The Surrey Youth League is now positioned as the second largest league in the Country and has playing in it around 11,500 Children week in and week out. We pride ourselves in providing, with the clubs, a safe environment for Children to enjoy organised sport on a Sunday morning.
Much of what you will see and be part of is a great environment, this is the norm. However over the last few seasons we have seen a rise in poor touchline behaviour, so much so that in the 2015-16 season I found myself in the national press, reporting on the bad elements that can plague our game.
The Local and National support I received to “Do Something” to eradicate the poor behaviour was overwhelming and humbling. With this support we have moved forward to raise the stakes in ensuring that the adults do everything we can to improve standards and make this abuse and general disrespect to Referees and Linesmen, especially the young U14 – U18 refs, who are all volunteers, qualified or not, socially unacceptable.
As a consequence from the 2016-17 season we will now be running a process whereby the Referees will be submitting, to the league, reports on disrespect shown towards them and club linesmen. In the Codes of Conduct you sign up to is a list of the standards that are expected from everyone on the touchline, if people transgress these standards, then they will now be subject to sanctions from your club, it will happen this season.
Educational sanctions and further sanctions can and will be applied – these will range from Verbal and Written warnings, through Letters of apology being written to Parents of U18 referees, to having to sit a FA Respect Video with certificate printed to prove the course has been taken and to ultimately being expelled from a club.
The League will guide the clubs in the process and if the Clubs take no action or Parents refuse to follow the club guidance then the league will withhold fixtures for the team concerned. The league will deem the in action contributing to it being unsafe for that team to play matches, fixtures will only be re-instated when appropriate action has been proven to have taken place.
We want everyone to enjoy the Sunday experience and not be subjected to unacceptable behaviour by the few, by embracing the pilot and the Codes of Conduct we hope that one day that this type of incident, whilst rare, will become socially unacceptable. Following an FA approved pilot in 2016-17 The “Don’t Spoil My Game” process now has the full approval of the FA. We are not eradicating the passion and the support on the touchline, but the abuse and questioning of referees will be a thing of the past. We hope that something special will happen within this league that makes the Sunday morning, much more enjoyable and safe for everyone.