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The FA Respect Programme to be utilised in all  Matches

 The FA Respect Programme was introduced by The FA for season 2008/9 to help raise standards and address abusive behaviour in the game. The Respect Programme is a key aspect of the FA’s Vision for the next 4 years and The FA hopes that as well as improving behaviour in the game at all levels, it helps with the recruitment and retention of referees. 

As part of the Respect Programme,for all FA and Essex FA Competitions it has been decided to introduce both the initiative that involves the referee working with the team captain on the day to manage the players and the game effectively and the pre-match fair play handshake initiative. 

 The FA would like your help in implementing these two protocols in this competition. 

 We have therefore introduced the following guidelines as an AIDE MEMOIRE for referees. 


Working with the Team Captain

1. The referee will work with the team captain in order to manage the players and the game effectively. Note the IFAB Guidelines for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials which state that the captain has no special status or privileges under the Laws of the Game but he has a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of his team. 

2. The referee must control the game by applying the Laws of the Game, and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by layers (e.g. not move away from the incident, but stay and deal with it). 

3. The referee should use a stepped approach where appropriate to managing players e.g. 1) free-kick, 2) free kick with a quiet word, 3) free kick with public admonishment (this is the time referees should consider using the captain to more visibly get the message across), 4) yellow card. 

4. The stepped approach does not negate the fact that the referee has the authority within the Laws of the Game to issue disciplinary sanctions without recourse to the captain. 

5. Whilst recognising that players may on occasions make an appeal for a decision (e.g. a throw-in, corner or goal kick), It is important that the referee distinguishes these from an act of dissent which should be punished with a   caution. 

6. Even if the captain is some way away from an incident when the referee feels he needs him involved in a discussion with a player, the referee will call the captain over rather than using any other senior player. This will ensure that the captain remains the point of contact for the referee. 

7. These guidelines should be seen as an additional preventative/supportive tool in order for referees to manage the game effectively. The key to the above is using the captains in a more visible way, where appropriate. 


Fair Play Handshake Protocol 

 The following protocol should be applied where possible: 

 1. The starting eleven from both teams together with the three-match officials (excluding the fourth official) should take part in the handshake. 

 2. Each team should line up on the same side of the half-way line that they enter the field of play, with the match officials in the middle. 

 3. The Home team, led by their captain, then walks to shake hands with the match officials, and then the away team’s players (see 1 below). Once each Home team player has finished shaking hands with the last away team player they disperse to their favoured end to kick-in. 

 4. Once the last home team player has completed the handshake, the Away team then follow their Captain passing in front of the match officials to shake hands (see 2 below) before dispersing to the opposite end of the pitch from the home team. 


5. Once the handshakes have been completed the match officials then proceed to the centre circle for the coin toss. Whilst we understand that it may be difficult to implement this protocol in every case, we would ask that referees do what they reasonably can to ensure its implementation. 

 NB. C=Captain Referees will need to play a leading role in the implementation of the Programme at all levels of the game to ensure that it is a success and the authority and respect for match officials is reinforced.

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