Club’s call for parents to stop ‘swearing and shouting’ at children’s football matches
PUBLISHED: 07:12 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 05 March 2020
Swearing and intimidating behaviour from parents at children’s football matches is being tackled head-on with a new video.
In response to the problem, which impacts on grassroots clubs across Norfolk, the We Only Do Positive video was made by a Costessey Sports Club youth team to encourage parents, volunteer coaches and referees to think about their behaviour on the touchline and during games.
The video has attracted nearly 1,000 views on the club's YouTube channel and it features girls and boys aged eight to 13 from four youth teams who reveal how aggressive language and behaviour impacts them negatively.
Film creator, Dan Henry, 40, who coaches the U9 Eagles team, said: "We want to make a difference. This type of behaviour should not be tolerated. Children who see it tend to go into their shell and not want the ball. It puts them off the game."
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Former professional boxer Nathan Dale, 29, from Ellis Close in Sprowston, whose nine-year-old son Riley Dale plays for the U9 Eagles team, said: "There is more negative behaviour at youth football matches compared to boxing matches. You get parents swearing and shouting at the teams. Often parents are trying to live their dream through their children.
"You can encourage everybody on the team if they do something well. It is about being respectful."
Emma Watson, from Costessey, whose eight-year-old son James Watson plays for the U9 Eagles team, said: "At matches I have heard language that I would find inappropriate for my child. It makes me enjoy the game less. We are all role models for children and should be setting an example. It can be upsetting."
She has also witnessed intimidating behaviour from parents questioning referee decisions and her son said positive encouragement from parents during matches made him feel happy and play better.
Former Norwich City player Cedric Anselin said: "Grassroots football is not about winning. It is about children expressing themselves and having fun."
Ryan Jarvis, who plays for King's Lynn Town FC and coaches under 19s at Norwich City Football Club's Community Sports Foundation, said: "I think it's very important that parents watching their child's grassroots games create a positive and fun environment where the children can play with freedom to express themselves.
"A child playing football whilst hearing positive encouragement from the touch lines from all spectators is more likely to improve and ultimately enjoy the game they love.
"The video is a great idea to promote and raise awareness to parents and all spectators that aggressive and frustrated behaviour is detrimental towards the children.
"A respectful, positive and encouraging touchline manner will create a better environment for the players to enjoy the game."
Harry Diggens, from Norfolk FA, who is lead of #NorfolkFootballisPositive campaign, said: "Costessey Sports Club have carried out a fantastic piece of work. The video highlights the importance of the FA's We Only Do Positive Campaign."#