On most weekends, tens of thousands of girls, boys, women and men can be found playing and officiating football matches across Victoria, watched and supported by thousands more parents, family members, club officials and volunteers.
Over time, a minority of these people have unfortunately decided that it is ok to:
- Abuse referees, both official and volunteers
- Scream and yell at players, coaches and officials
- Criticise performance rather than celebrate effort
- Ignore, manipulate and question rules and decisions
The impact this behaviour has on the game of football cannot be understated. People stop playing the game, referees stop officiating, tensions between clubs rise.
In order to make a genuine difference to the behaviour of everyone involved in the game, a cultural shift needs to occur. This needs to occur at all levels. We need to Respect The Game.
Football Victoria has created the 'Respect The Game' campaign to bring awareness of the issues we all need to work on to keep the game strong, safe and an enjoyable environment that protects participants, match officials, club administrators, volunteers and spectators.
At the Club Development Conference in February, all clubs under the Football Victoria umbrella were asked to sign a pledge to Respect The Game:
We will call out behaviour that undermines this pledge and drive a culture of respect within our football community. We will not tolerate abuse in our game, directed towards referees, players, coaches, spectators, officials or volunteers. We will provide a safe environment for all Victorians to unite through football.
This pledge unifies everyone into stamping out this behaviour within football communities. It is the first step of an ongoing program Football Victoria have undertaken to work closely with clubs to improve the football experience for all Victorians. #WeRespectTheGame
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