To: All Organizational Members
From: Chris Branscome, Chief Executive Officer
CC: Board of Directors, EPSARC
Date: August 31, 2022
RE: Fair Play
Fair play is one key pillars for the good of the game. Our collective purpose is to provide all children with a safe and fun opportunity to participate in this great game. When we all work together towards this common goal, regardless of the level of skill, ability or competition, the experience is better for everyone. More positive experiences leads to keeping more kids in the game. To provide a healthy atmosphere for children to play the game, we need to teach our players about fair play and we all need to treat each other with respect.
In awarding their Fair Play award, FIFA uses the following criteria:
- Playing by the rules and promoting the Laws of the Game
- Respecting team-mates, opponents, match officials and/or fans
- Acting against discrimination.
Previously, we wrote to you outlining the need to study the Laws of the Game. All players and coaches should familiarize themselves with laws each year. We encourage clubs to reach out to the referee community for informational sessions for teams and parents too. A better understanding of the laws can lead to a more positive game day experience.
FIFA’s second point, respecting team-mates, opponents, match officials and/or fans is absolutely important in youth soccer. Let’s remember first and foremost, this is a children’s game. Regardless of age or skill level, these are children and they should be supported in a positive manner. Let’s also remember that many of our referees are minors and they deserve our support.
Fair play is not just for the players, or even about the players, it’s about everyone included at each game. When it comes to sideline behavior, we expect coaches, players, team officials and spectators to be respectful at all times. Soccer is an exciting and emotional game and at times, it can get the best of all of us. Nonetheless, we need to maintain control. Spectators are as invested in a game as much as the players and coaches. When spectator emotions run high, it’s incumbent on the coaches and referees to manage them. Referees and coaches should work together in these moments. Many of our leagues have specific rules and regulations regarding these situations. Please become familiar with your league rules regarding bench/technical areas and spectator management.
The third point in Fair Play is acting against discrimination. Soccer is an inclusive game by nature. Players of all sizes, skills and specialties comprise each and every team. It’s also inclusive as the world’s game with players coming from multiple nations and cultural backgrounds. It’s no different with our association’s boarders. We all need to respect and support everyone. Soccer provides an opportunity for everyone to belong. Any form of discrimination cannot be tolerated. Acts of discrimination should be reported. They will be investigated.
Fair play is all of our responsibility. For additional resources, please visit https://www.epysa.org/news/respect2022/