After a first season of having respect marshalls operating within our youth leagues across Staffordshire, we have gathered feedback on how the marshalls have been received and how we can continue to develop the Respect agenda.
We have been running two surveys throughout April; one open to the public and another for referees officiating in Staffordshire youth leagues. We are also engaging leagues and clubs in obtaining feedback.
To date, we have had 288 responses to the general public survey and 76 referee responses.
Some of the main findings from the survey indicate the following:
• 62% of people stated that they were unsure of the impact that respect marshalls had on games but 35% felt that there had been some form of positive impact. This was supported with people thinking that there was a lack of clarity and understanding of the role and how it should be used.
• 57% of people stated that the referee had never met the respect marshalls before the game, with 36% of people saying that a pre-match meeting was held on occasions. There is obviously work to be done around this process to improve communication and support.
• 35% of people indicated that opposition had provided a respect marshall at three quarters of the games they attended, with 5.5% saying that they had never seen a respect marshall. One of our primary aims for this season was just to get respect marshalls introduced into the leagues. Indicators suggest that we now need to look at how leagues better monitor this and look at how we manage compliance to this standard moving forward.
• Referees reported that 62% of teams provided a respect marshall at three quarters of the games they officiated.
• 38% of the referees said they always met the respect marshalls prior to games
• 62% of referees confirmed they knew what the main purpose of the respect marshall was
• 70% of referees felt that respect marshalls have a positive influence on games.
The findings are encouraging and whilst we acknowledge there has been a mix of positive and negative experiences, we are developing a picture that we need to provide more clarity and understanding of the role expectations alongside working with leagues, clubs and referees in reviewing areas around compliance to the standards.
We are now introducing the armbands for referees under the age of 18 to remind everyone that they are subject to safeguarding children regulations. We must be mindful with respect that we all need to play our part in promoting a positive and enjoyable environment for youth players to participate in the game.
To learn more about The FA’s Respect initiative, please CLICK HERE