The Football Conference has attempted to focus on the subject of player discipline in recent seasons, in particular with regards to reducing the number of reports submitted against clubs, where a lack of respect and sportsmanship is concerned.
The Board, having received the latest figures relating to dissent and lack of respect being showed by players and management amongst member clubs, reveal that the campaign to improve in this area is bearing fruit. We are pleased to report the figures in these areas show a considerable reduction in reported offences by margins of:-
Premier: - 8% North: -59% South: -39%
We believe this is a testament to the efforts being made around the ‘Code of Conduct’ agreement signed by Club Chairmen and Managers at the start of the season.
On the eve of the Football Association celebrating its 150th anniversary this is good news and Chairman Brian Lee commented, “We are pleased to note the downward trend in the figures released today and it is a testament to our efforts to make the match day experience at all our 68 clubs a pleasurable one for all spectators and especially families. Prior to the start of this season under our new title sponsors Skrill, we sought cooperation from our members to sign up to a ‘Code of Conduct’ and in the main this has proved successful. This is not to say that there are no exceptions to the overall trend and we have targeted those clubs who fall short of the standards we set collectively to achieve. Where we find the need, we are asking those clubs to demonstrate they have in place a strong and robust policy of internal sanction to deter players and management from this type of unsavoury behaviour.
Being at the top of the non league game, we need to be seen, as in many other areas, to set standards”. It is confirmed, whilst overall discipline is subject of control from the Football Association, the Football Conference believes it has a duty to call clubs to account, where figures show them to be well above the average per division of such reports.
To date out of 68 clubs, 11 clubs – 6 Premier – 2 North - 3 South have each been challenged to improve on their current showing and make the Football Conference even more confident that it is moving in the right direction. Mr Lee added “It would be foolish of me to say the figures, although pleasing to note, indicate we have cracked dissent and other acts of unsporting behaviour. There is much clubs, their players and management can do to continue to fly the flag for the Skrill Conference and we will strive to improve even on this good news”.
Photograph: David Keyte – Chairman of Hereford United receiving the “Respect Trophy” awarded to them last season as overall winners in the Football Conference.