Don’t X The Line is making a difference to how parents and spectators behave when watching grassroots football. This campaign was the forerunner to the RESPECT PROGRAMME launched by The Football Association. The PGMOL is responsible for providing match officials to Professional games in England and we are delighted to support.
THEIR TERRIFIC EFFORTS TO BRING BACK ENJOYMENT FOR EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THIS WONDERFUL GAME.
Keith Hackett – General Manager, Former FIFA International Referee
John Hudson – PFA Director of Community
Mal has shown amazing enthusiasm, energy and commitment to create, promote and now deliver his, what was only recently a small acorn – The Don’t X The Line Campaign.
The problem is abusive parents and players towards each other and match officials has long been taken for granted as part of ‘football’. There are other differing approaches to this problem including the FA’s Soccer Parent etc, but none are delivered practically with such determination to succeed. As a junior team manager Mal identified an obvious problem, thought about it as most parents or responsible adults should do, but he actually took Don’t X The Line Campaign that important step further. Most ideas fall flat when it comes to the reality and work needed for campaigns to be taken seriously.
Mal took it upon himself to introduce his campaign to me at Football in the Community and we immediately could see a passion and desire to make this project successful. Through our programme of activities we see on a daily basis the negative effects verbal abuse can have on players, putting some children off not only football, but sport for life. The highlights of the recent levels of obesity reinforce the importance of everybody’s role in sport for children not just the governing bodies.
The role of the referee is essential for football to survive. Without clear enforceable rules the game of football would quickly crumble, and therefore be without referees to enforce these rules.
Mal has managed to do what many have tried for years, to unite referees, players, parents, clubs and leagues. By pulling together and agreeing guidelines that have positive results for those that adhere to the spirit the game should be played and incentives to not transgress – just like the game itself.
By doing the footwork and being very persistent (trust me, I know just how persistent) Mal’s project is making a difference – he wouldn’t be on Sky television or nominated for this if he wasn’t. In a time where people don’t appear to have the ‘spare’ time to supervise and allow opportunities for children as I enjoyed when I was at school (and not that long ago – 15 years), it is heartening to see good old fashioned values being rejuvenated.
For me, Mal’s campaign is all about citizenship, helping to re-establish important moral values such as discipline, respect, understanding, communication, transparency, fair play and sportsmanship. They may only be youngsters having a kick about on the pitch at the weekend, but it is all part of the young individual’s personal development. You can learn alot on a muddy pitch, in the rain or snow, as long as you are enjoying being there. Nothing productive is really learnt when you are more worried about comments or threats from those around you.
It also helps parents, and spectators, alike to enjoy our national sport without encroaching onto the pitch; this can only benefit the children and improve their skills whilst entertaining us on it.
Chris Foy – Premier League Referee, Ambassador to the campaign
Stephen Raynor – On behalf of Everton Football Club & Everton Foundation
Paul Martyn – FAI
Jamie Carragher, Liverpool FC
Mal Lee says “this is a brilliant recruitment and will only raise the profile of the Don’t X The Line to a higher standard, lets hope now that Jamie is on board more high profile people will join us to promote fair play in sport to eradicate racism,aggression,bullying and abusive behavior from those watching or participating in all levels of sporting activity.”