STOKE CITY will help celebrate the success of The Football Association’s Respect programme at their Premier League home game against Norwich City on Sunday.
In association with Staffordshire County FA, The Potters are proud to host the region’s first-ever Respect fixture, promoting the programme which has gone from strength-to-strength since its launch in 2008.
Jodie Allard, Football Development Officer at Staffordshire County FA, has praised the move, saying: “This fixture will celebrate the success of The FA’s Respect programme since it launched five years ago, helping to raise its profile and promote the excellent work undertaken by both Stoke City and Staffordshire County FA around their Respect and Fair Play agendas.
“With the start of the 2013/14 season kicking off, Staffordshire County FA and Stoke City are committed to raising standards of behaviour amongst everyone involved in our beautiful game.”
Players from Bradwell (Bombers) Girls FC and Brereton Town Juniors FC will be taking part in Stoke City’s Flag Bearers match day experience in recognition of their achievements as the male and female youth clubs with the best Respect and Fair Play record within Staffordshire.
Mark Hughes’ players will also show their support for Respect and Fair Play by warming up in Respect t-shirts prior to kick-off.
After five seasons of Respect, the underlying statistics at all levels of football show a very positive story.
Dissent cautions in all affiliated football are down by 13%, all cautions are down by 10%, all dismissals are down by 13% and all misconduct cautions are down by 9%. Since 2008, The FA has also managed to recruit and retain nearly 5,000 more referees, taking the figure in 2013 to upwards of 28,000.
Dermot Collins, The FA’s Respect programme manager, said: “Having the Stoke City v Norwich City league fixture dedicated to the Respect programme is a fantastic way to celebrate the positive impact it is having both within the county and across the country.
“I offer my thanks to everyone at Stoke City and Staffordshire County FA.
“What’s clear over the last five years since the Respect programme launched is that it really is making a difference.
“Coach and referee education programmes, use of touchline barriers, touchline marshals, Respect signage and briefings for parents have all led to a more positive environment in which children can enjoy and learn the game. After five seasons we are beginning to develop a Respect generation of youth footballers.”