England captains back FA’s ‘Pledge of Positivity’ campaign

England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane back the FA's Pledge of Positivity campaign

England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane back the FA's Pledge of Positivity campaign - Credit: Archant

The Football Association [The FA] has today launched the ‘Pledge of Positivity’ which asks parents and spectators involved in under-18s grassroots football to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.

A recent survey conducted by The FA and Nielsen found 88% of over 1,000 grassroots participants cite parents as a driver of disrespect in grassroots football.

To have an impact on this off-pitch behaviour, The FA has launched the Pledge of Positivity, encouraging those on the side-lines to support all players involved and respect referees, coaches and other spectators.

The Pledge is based on The FA's RESPECT behavioural code of conduct which seeks to improve behavioural standards in football.

England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane are the first two people to make the Pledge of Positivity, encouraging others to follow suit at TheFa.com/Pledge.

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Kane penned a letter to parents and spectators, which was painted into the touchlines at his childhood club, Ridgeway Rovers, Essex, ahead of last weekend's youth team matches.

It read:

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Dear parents and spectators,

This is a special place.

By standing behind this line you have an important role to play in the game you're about to watch.

When I was growing up and playing here, the support of my family, coaches and team mates helped me to fall in love with football.

So, play your part in making this pitch a place of positivity where our kids can express themselves and have fun.

Create an environment that is safe, fun and inclusive for everyone.

Celebrate effort and good play from both sides.

When mistakes happen, offer your support and encourage players to try again next time.

Always respect the referee. Never tolerate offensive behaviour.

Whether it is here or at Wembley stadium, you play your best when you are smiling.

All the best,

Harry Kane

Kane, a father of two, said: "As parents and spectators, it is our job to make sure that children enjoy playing football. The pitch should be a place of support and encouragement.

"Youngsters should never feel pressure or intimidation from the side-lines, so I'm delighted to add my name to the Pledge of Positivity and I'd like to encourage as many people as possible to do the same."

Ridgeway Rovers coach Ian Marshall added: "Everyone should be able to enjoy their football. At Ridgeway Rovers, we are tremendously proud of the careers that players like Harry Kane and David Beckham have gone on to enjoy after starting their football journeys with us.

"Positive encouragement is key in the growth and development of all young players. We place enormous importance on creating the right environment for players - which is why we support The FA's Pledge of Positivity and encourage others to do the same."

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: "Having coached grass roots football for the last five years, I've seen first-hand the huge impact that parents on the side-lines can have on players from both a positive and negative point of view.

"It's no surprise that kids play better in a positive environment and our research has confirmed this impacts 90 per cent of players. It's crucial that we create an atmosphere where players are encouraged rather than abused, for their enjoyment of football as well as their mental health.

"I urge others to join me in making this pledge and showing their support for kids' football."

The FA's Respect campaign was relaunched ahead of the 18/19 season [having been originally launched in the 2008-09 season] with a new mantra of 'We Only Do Positive'.

As a result, The FA has seen positivity in grass roots football rise with 88 epr cent of tracked U12-U18s matches being played in a positive environment, a two per cent increase from the previous season. The FA hope that the Pledge of Positivity will ensure that number continues to rise.

Make your pledge at www.TheFA.com/Pledge.

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