Saturday 1 October 2016

Parents on football touchline so violent 'someone could be killed', youth league chairman warns

Graham Ekins, chairman of the Surrey Youth League, wrote to clubs to say Sunday morning games are at risk of being spoiled by aggressive parents

Sophie Jamieson

Published 24/02/2016 | 15:34

Parents can be more competitive than their children
Parents can be more competitive than their children

Violence at children’s football games is so out of control that someone could be killed, the chairman of a local league has said.

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Graham Ekins, chairman of the Surrey Youth League, wrote to clubs in the region to say Sunday morning games are at risk of being spoiled by aggressive parents.

"Would you want your name associated with a children’s competition that resulted in the death of someone as a consequence of violence?”

It follows a weekend of kids’ matches in Surrey that saw one parent threaten to stab a referee, another headbut a volunteer linesman and childplayers threatening to destroy a changing room, The Times reported.

In his email Mr Ekins said: “Would you want your name associated with a children’s competition that resulted in the death of someone as a consequence of violence?”

The league includes around 11,500 children, with players from six to 18-years-old.

Referees have reportedly been driven away from their roles because of the severity of the abuse.

Mr Ekins warned in his message: “You as clubs and all people involved in trying to voluntarily run children’s football need to take back control from thugs and idiots that are doing a great job of spoiling Sunday mornings for children and then occupying league officers’ time for the rest of the week while we clear the mess up.”

He said those involved should be “ashamed of themselves”.

The Football Association launched the Respect campaign in 2008 to address the fact that 7,000 referees were leaving football each year because of abusive treatment from players and supporters.

"You as clubs and all people involved in trying to voluntarily run children’s football need to take back control from thugs and idiots."

In 2014 sports minister Helen Grant warned that overzealous touchline parents could be arrested if they were violent or abusive.

The FA launched an “awareness” course to educate people about the dangers of causing disturbances at matches, designed to be used for people guilty of misconduct in a similar way to speed awareness courses for drivers.

Telegraph.co.uk

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