• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024


The ReFspect Campaign is working with The Football Association, The Professional Footballers Association, Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL), The Football Association of Ireland & County Football Association’s including other professional bodies to help raise awareness and eliminate problems experienced by referees at all levels of the game of football, in particular at grassroots level.


The ReFspect campaign is an initiative aimed at improving the behaviour of parents and spectators. By reducing the number of incidents of poor touchline behaviour we aim to maintain the current number of referees and help to attract many more new referees to the beautiful game.

We would like all football clubs, leagues and County FA's to offer active support of the ReFspect  Program and raise awareness of ReFspect by signing up to support the  Don't X The Line campaign.

Football's Number 1

Sideline Management Campaign

Proudly Supported By

The Professional Footballers Association

Sideline Policy

An Anti-Bullying Approach

The protection of the referee through an anti-bullying policy will be the catalyst for change in your football organisation. It is sometimes very difficult to manage behaviour and to keep emotions under control, however it is very easy to identify bullying when it's characteristics are outlined in a policy. Anti-bullying policies are a very powerful tool in enforcing good behaviour because of the stigma that comes with the label of a bully and let's be honest, bullying is what the referee is experiencing.

This very simple but effective diagnosis of sideline behaviour is the benchmark you can create in your club or organisation, to allow you to effectively trigger your individual disciplinary procedures.

Remember...We can't wait for the last whistle to fall silent

Before the bullying does.


Our Mission

Our mission is to support grassroots football in reducing bullying and harassment towards children and match officials in sport.

Our Vision

Our vision is a new football landscape in which referees feel protected and safe from sideline bullying.

Our Commitment

We are committed to the safety and protection of referees in football and to building a more understanding generation of young people, who will go on to be the referees and sidelines of the future.


A Guide to How The Campaign Works #REFspect

1. All leagues/can nominate a support group, who will help to monitor the campaign. Within the Don’t X The Line(DXTL), support group there will be a spokesperson and at least one assistant i.e welfare officer committee member.

2. It will be the duty of the Don’t X The Line (DXTL) Volunteers, to mark the match card of each team with a score to reflect their attitude towards the referee, children and parents throughout the game (maximum 10 points Green Card Fairplay). Points will be awarded at the end of the game (end of penalties in cup games). Bonus points can be awarded for good conduct and sportsmanship (maximum 5 points Green Card Fair Play). Points will be taken off for any encroachment onto the pitch, swearing and arguments towards the referee and fellow supporters. Any racist remark, Verbal Abuse, Bullying or Aggressive behaviour whatsoever will not be tolerated. High points accumulated by your parents for good behaviour on the touchlines could reward your team at the end of the season for a team kit sponsored by Ref Support UK, or an invitation to the Don’t X the Line Awards presentation.

3. The Don’t X The Line support group will be monitoring teams on how the REFspect fair play  campaign is progressing in their league, and discuss this with the league committee.

4. At the end of the season, the support group will tally all team points awarded by the DXTL volunteers, and nominated supporters. If there is a tie at the end of the season then the League Committee is to appoint the winner from that league. Their decision will be final. One team per league will be awarded the Don’t X The Line REFspect Award.

5. No parent or supporter shall at any time before, during or after the game approach the referee. If a parent or supporter feels that they would like to comment in any decision the referee has made they should approach their team manager who will issue them with a Don’t X The Line, Parent Opinion Card. The parent or supporter (18 years and over) should then fill this card in and hand it to a support group member who will process it accordingly.

6. At no time during the game shall supporters stand behind the goals and where it is possible each team’s supporters should occupy one side of the pitch only.

What Happens Next?

Should you wish to become inovolved with the Don’t X The Line Campaign, you will need to register either yourself, your team or your league.

Please email: mal@dontxtheline.com to request an application form.

Thank you for your time.


The Refspect Campaign was established in 2003 by Don't X The Line CIC, a non for profit organisation led by it's founder Mal Lee. It was founded to address the issues of poor sideline behaviour and the impact it has on children in the game. Since it's conception, the campaign has gone from strength to strength, gaining popularity on football sidelines across Britain and Ireland.

"Should be the easiest collective decision we ever make in grassroots football"  Mal Lee


- REFspect National Award -

Please complete the form below to submit an application for the REFspet National Award.


 -REFspect News -

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