Parents are banned from shouting during ‘woke’ FA National Silent Support Weekend pilot scheme

Parents are banned from shouting during ‘woke’ FA National Silent Support Weekend pilot scheme

Don’t cheer your child! Parents will be banned from shouting out at kids football matches this weekend as part of ‘Silent Support Weekend’ to take pressure of youngsters and quell rows

  • Parents banned from shouting during children’s football matches this weekend 
  • National Silent Support Weekend is an initiative run by the Football Association
  • The new scheme comes after instances of abuse were recorded in Merseyside 
  • Some critics have suggested the ‘woke’ move will change nothing in long term 

Parents have been banned from shouting during children’s football matches as part of a pilot project designed to alleviate the pressure on youngsters and curb violent incidents.

The Football Association (FA) was warned they face being branded ‘woke‘ after introducing the National Silent Support Weekend – an initiative that urges parents to choose applause over abuse while cheering on their children from the touchlines.

Parents will be told they should not shout, gloat or cheer during this weekend’s matches, and instead they should only applaud good play from either side.

Anyone who falls foul of the temporary rules could be asked to leave the pitch, either by a referee or a nominated ‘respect steward’. 

The move comes after the Merseyside FA decided to cancel all youth football matches for one weekend due to a shocking increase in verbal abuse from parents towards referees. 

Parents have been banned from shouting during children’s football matches as part of a pilot project designed to alleviate the pressure on youngsters and curb violent incidents [File image]

The National Silent Support Weekend initiative is a pilot project being run by the Football Association.

It will cover grassroot matches involving U7s to U18s teams for the weekend of November 5-6.

It will be up to individual county FAs to decide if they want to take part in the experiment but many have signed up to the initiative already.

A spokesman for the FA said they hoped the silent scheme will take the pressure off youngsters playing the game and allow them to make their own decisions.

He said: ‘We have announced our first National Silent Support Weekend to promote good behaviour on touchlines across grassroots youth football.

‘The landmark National Silent Support Weekend will be introduced over November 5-6 to encourage spectators and coaches to show their support during the match through applause only.

‘The aim is to reduce pressure on youth players at grassroots level and give them a better opportunity and environment to find their own voice, improve their on-pitch communications skills, develop their own game, and most importantly have fun.

‘Across the National Silent Support Weekend, we’re encouraging coaches and spectators to show their support by applauding good play from both teams, but refraining from talking or shouting.

‘This is to create an enjoyable, safe and developmental experience for all youth players, so that they can play the game with freedom, without pressure, and without an over-emphasis on winning at all costs.

‘The intent is not to be heavy handed in our approach. If they’re (parents) are not following the FA’s wider Respect Codes of Conduct, they may be asked to leave the venue…or asked not to attend future games but part of the process is to encourage adults to reflect on their own behaviours on the sideline.’

The FA’s scheme calls on spectators to allow children to ‘make mistakes and their own decisions’, without fearing harassment or abuse.

Coaches are being told they must also not dish out instructions from the sideline during the game but wait until half-time to do so. 

Alan Moore, director of youth club Sedgley and Gornal United FC in West Midlands, welcomed the move and shared one example of a pitch-invader parent who swore at a child during one match.

Coaches are being told they must also not dish out instructions from the sideline during the game but wait until half-time to do so [file image]

Coaches are being told they must also not dish out instructions from the sideline during the game but wait until half-time to do so [file image]

He told the Sun: ‘I applaud any initiative to stop some of the crazy behaviour I’ve seen, but this isn’t it.

‘I don’t care if it’s woke or nannying, I just know it’ll take more than this gesture to solve the problem.’

Mark Bullingham, the FA chief executive, said: ‘The National Silent Support Weekend is designed to promote respect in youth football. It gives players an opportunity to focus fully on their game and not be distracted by the touchline.

‘As a grassroots coach, I have taken part in trials and seen the benefits first hand. It was so well received by the players that we have worked with County FAs to offer the first National Silent Support weekend.

‘We hope a large number of leagues and clubs across the country will join in and provide a fun environment for young players to find their voice.’

The FA say they hope the silent initiative will allow players to make mistakes and to concentrate on the game and not be distracted by noise from the touchline.

Parent Faye Smith wrote on Twitter: ‘I understand what this is trying to achieve. 

‘But isn’t it better to work out a way of dealing with supporters who are behaving in an aggressive/critical way (hopefully the minority), rather than punishing those who are cheering on their kids in a positive and encouraging manner?’

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Jacob Thorburn

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