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Posted by: | Posted on: March 6, 2017

REFSPECT 2017

Posted by: | Posted on: February 5, 2017

Bullying In Football

Advice for parents about bullying in sports

Bullying UK, part of Family Lives, receives complaints about what happens on and off the sports pitch too. It isn’t just other players who can cause problems, but sometimes parents, coaches and team managers can also be capable of bullying behaviour.

Pressure from mums and dads

Research shows that many youngsters give up football because of the stress of parental pressure, the shouting and taunts from the touchline. Football development officers often feel fed up with parents’ behaviour with mini soccer being turned into a mega stress with a ‘win at all costs’ attitude.

If parents are taking the game more seriously than they should, shouting vociferous encouragement from the side, displaying excessive disappointment at the missed goal and of course abuse or invasion of the pitch, this should not be tolerated and neither should abuse between rival team parents in the heat of the game.

Set a good example

If you’re a parent think about the example you’re setting to your child and other families. A friend of Bullying UK who managed a youth soccer team in Leeds told of one match where there was so much trouble that the police had to be called and they refused to let parents leave until they’d taken their car registration numbers. On another occasion when he substituted a player, the substituted boy’s father, who was a linesman, threw down his flag in a display of petulance and shouted to his son: “Come on Thomas, we’re going home”.

The sports mad parent may be pushing their son or daughter very hard and making unreasonable demands. Parents need to know that they can be guilty of bullying too and that constructive criticism about the effort they put in is acceptable but personal negative comments are not and neither is punishment for an off day.

If your child is being bullied in his/her sports club then talk to the coach or manager about it and ask them to make other staff aware of the problem. Ask for the matter to be dealt with discretely. If the coach catches the bully in action they can’t accuse the victim of telling tales.

If the problem continues

If the problem continues and the club doesn’t seem sympathetic, ask if there is a complaints procedure and follow it. Clubs may have their own rules or guidance issued by the sport’s governing body and there may be appeal procedures over disciplinary matters.

If your complaint is about the coach you need to be fair and objective when making a complaint. Not every child will be picked for the team every week and it’s better to approach the coach in a friendly way to discuss any issues of concern. If you can’t resolve matters at club level you could consider taking it to the sport’s governing body.

How your child might feel

Remember that sport should be about fun and enjoyment and just because your child might not be as capable as another on the sports field doesn’t mean that they should be left out.  Sadly we know that this can happen and it can be heartbreaking for parents to watch their child having to sit on the sideline for excessive amounts of time, especially when they have attended training every week and have shown commitment to their club when others who are played haven’t.   If this continues to be an issue and you can see that your child obviously isn’t enjoying their activity anymore then you might have to think long and hard about whether they should continue.

No one wants to see their child upset or despondent and if getting to games is starting to feel more like a chore than a joy, then you definitely need to sit down with your child and have a chat about how you might find a way forward.  Focus on the positives – perhaps there is another club they can take a look at where things might not be so competitive, or another sport that they could try.  It’s imperative that you emphasise that they have done nothing wrong and don’t deserve to be treated in this way so they don’t blame themselves.

Of course you have the option of speaking to the club manager about this but try to remain calm and think about any impact this could have on your child in the future.  Try to find out how your child would feel about you having a word with the manager beforehand.

Posted by: | Posted on: February 5, 2017

Totally Runable

Natalie Jackson writes; we share a lot of synergies between what we do and how young people benefit. TR works with girls aged 7 upwards using running to build their confidence in sport, exercise and life. Natalie Jackson, Director, and Ex-sprinter and Olympian Emily Freeman, former UK no 1, now retired and working to inspire the next generation, firmly believe that the growing interest in running is having an effect on girls.

We work with girls age 7 up and with adult women – often school staff – using running as the tool to build confidence in sport, exercise and life. By approaching it in the right way anyone can improve their running and learn real lessons about themselves and the rest of their life.

Running is also something we have some serious experience in. We know what it takes to run at all levels – from adult beginner to Olympic athlete – and at all distances from sprints to marathons. We know what it takes to get started and we know how to turn consistent actions into results. We work with girls aged 7 upwards, both in and out of school, as well as with their mums and teachers. If you, your children or school want to get more active and make running part of your life – let’s do it together.

For more information contact:

Facebook or Twitter

http://totallyrunable.com/ 

Posted by: | Posted on: February 5, 2017

UEFA Foundation

UEFA Foundation for Children backs 12 new projects

The foundation’s board of trustees promotes sport as a vehicle to support vulnerable children.

The UEFA Foundation for Children’s board of trustees, chaired by the former European Commission president, José Manuel Durão Barroso, met in October at the House of European Football in Nyon.

The main items on the meeting agenda included a review of all current activities and campaigns, and the inaugural 2016 UEFA Foundation for Children awards ceremony took place, highlighting the work of the five charitable bodies chosen to receive the awards for their campaigns seeking to promote peace, integration, greater social harmony, respect for differences and non-discrimination: streetfootballworld, Colombianitos, Just Play, Right to Play and Magic Bus.

The board also approved new projects, following on from a call for projects for 2016/17. The board carefully studied the numerous initiatives submitted, which had to meet the following criteria: conformity with the UEFA Foundation for Children’s statutes; credibility of the bodies in question; presentation of a viable budget, including the participation of local partners; and the sustainability value of the projects.

The UEFA Foundation for Children has earmarked €1 million in financial support for 12 new projects, involving programmes designed to help vulnerable, disadvantaged or disabled children across the world.

The following projects will be added to the UEFA foundation’s portfolio:

 An educational project based on team sports, in particular handball, volleyball, football and basketball, run in partnership with a French non-governmental organisation, CIELO (Coopération internationale pour les équilibres locaux), which is active in Benin, Cameroun and Togo;

 An initiative aimed at promoting education and life skills in Congo, proposed by Promo Jeune Basket, who have been working with young people in the country for more than ten years. More than 1,000 youngsters have derived benefit from the project;

 The “Solidarité aveugle” (“Blind solidarity”) project, run by Libre Vue, destined for 150 young blind girls and boys in Mali, and designed to enable them to play football in an appropriate environment – thereby combatting social exclusion and promoting football for all;

 “Goal Plus”, a project supported by PluSport, an organisation which uses football and other ball games to integrate disabled people in Switzerland;

 “The Game, The Life”, established by the Swiss NGO IMBEWU, and aimed at supporting disadvantaged children and young people in townships in South Africa in their education and on their life paths, in order to bring about greater equality, tolerance and social cohesion;

 A project by the Brincar de Rua organisation, which is based and active in the Leiria region of Portugal. The project offers street-playing experiences in urban areas for children aged between 5 and 12. The children are integrated within groups in their neighbourhood, and take part in sporting activities which are beneficial to their health, development and well-being;

 An educational, health and social inclusion programme for children in disadvantaged communities in Israel and Palestine, to be implemented in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Deir Istiya by Inter Campus, an organisation working with numerous local partners;

 A programme of education through sport which keeps children occupied and active from when they leave school during the day until the evening – normally a period in the day when they are generally left to their own devices. The programme is run by the Education for Children organisation which is active in Jocotenango, a region of Guatemala marked by extreme poverty, gang crime, drugs and alcohol, as well as by domestic and sexual violence;

 “Football for All in Vietnam”, a partnership programme between the Football Association of Norway and the Vietnam Football Federation, which promotes education and cultural values through football for young people – in particular girls, minorities and disabled children;

 Football for Life (F4L) Academy, a specialised educational programme, based on playing and designed for the world’s most marginalised children. Since 2014, in the Philippines, F4L has been using football to help disadvantaged children to continue their schooling and escape from intergenerational poverty, and connects marginalised children with prominent local football players to motivate them;

 A programme run by Plan Nederland, an association working to reduce early pregnancies and forced marriages among young girls in Guatemala, using football as a vehicle to make girls more autonomous and reinforce the process of social change. Fathers and boys are being encouraged to actively support the girls;

 The “Beyond the Pitches’ Green” project run by the Instituto Fazer Acontecer, a non-governmental organisation based in Brazil which promotes sport’s potential as a powerful tool for social change. This project will enable the training of 300 instructors in Football3 methodology, benefitting more than 900 young people from disadvantaged communities in 15 towns across the country.

Follow the UEFA Foundation for Children on social media:

Facebook and Twitter

https://uefafoundation.org/

Posted by: | Posted on: October 26, 2016

FairFootball


Association Football has been played for over 150 years and is by far the most popular team game in history.   It is a game almost exclusively organised, played, supported, managed and profited from, by men.  Women were at first ignored, then banned, and latterly marginalised by being confined to their own game, even though they are just as skilful as men players; and despite the huge financial contribution, in one form or another, that they make to men’s football.     

There has been blind, cultural and an almost sacred acceptance of this segregation, with next to no questioning, debate or examination.   Indeed, even to raise the issue of men and women playing the game together, invites hostile disapprobation.

The only argument, of any substance, against men and women playing the game as a shared experience, is the perceived difference in physical strength between the genders.  Though the magnitude and scope of that difference is a matter of argument, it is nevertheless generally acknowledged as fact that women are disadvantaged; with the women’s game consequently viewed as ’inferior’.

Disgracefully, there has never been any effort to end this obvious and needless imbalance; a situation that has arisen from a lack of vision, misogyny, female passivity, male arrogance, gender prejudice, and blinkered corporate selfishness.

FairFootball challenges this status-quo by proposing modifications that would enable men and women to play the game together on a totally equal basis.  These are virtually cost free and remarkably simple, with the game retaining its essence; feeling the same to players, and looking the same to spectators.   The rhetoric for equality for women in football has been exposed as meaningless.

An added benefit of FairFootball is that it would open-up the game to other dichotomous groups, such as age difference (mothers/daughters, fathers/sons etc.).  This would make football truly inclusive; an ideal community sport.

‘This website uses football as an exemplar to show how easy it is to modify sport so enabling the genders to fully participate and compete together; reversing the corrosive misogyny and gender stereotyping that many sports promulgate’.  J G Harvey

For more information about this topic visit http://www.fairfootball.co.uk/ 

Posted by: | Posted on: September 24, 2016

International Day of Peace

The National Children’s Football Alliance, The Peace Village and GroepINTRO, facilitated football for fun games for refugees on International Day of Peace, 21st September, 2016.  For more information on how an International Children’s Football Alliance can create Peace Makers For The Future contact The NCFA: info@thecfa.com

Posted by: | Posted on: August 30, 2016

Come The Whistle, Revisted

Ernie & Paul_300

Paul Cooper (Right) with Ernie Brennan (Left) at the Peace Village, Messines, Belgium.

Give Us Back Our Game campaign was founded by Paul Cooper (National Projects Director and Founder Member of the NCFA) and Rick Fenoglia (Manchester Metropolitan University).  Both parents were arguably at the forefront of lobbying the custodians of English football to change their ways when facilitating the children’s game.  In fact, both gentlemen were invited to sit on the Football Association’s ‘working groups’ in Soho Square which subsequently led to the ‘Respect’ campaign.  Paul revisits a period when every national paper and the BBC were tripping over themselves to cover the outrageous behavior of parents on the touchlines of children’s football.  The fervour for blaming the children’s grass roots game for the England team’s lack of success was and still remains Monty Python esque.

Paul Cooper; In 2008 Capricorn Productions approached me and Rick to take part in a film about children’s football.  They produced a short thought provoking documentary film directed by Ernie Brennan (Managing Director and Founder of the NCFA) on the state of children’s football in England called, ‘Come the Whistle’.

It focused on the ‘adultification’ of children’s football, touchline, parents and coaches’ behavior, as well as children’s development. The findings helped prompt Ernie to start a Children’s Football Alliance with the brief to ‘ring fence’ children’s football and play.

But what has actually changed in grassroots children’s football since the short documentary was made?

Ashford skills _300_h168On the wider football front nothing much has changed with the national team. In 2008 England were not at the Euros as they had been knocked out by Croatia on one those forgettable wet nights at Wembley in the qualifiers. At least England qualified for the 2016 but nevertheless packed their bags early after an embarrassing defeat by mighty Iceland (population about the same as the city of Leicester, the surprise winners of the Premier League).

Behaviour on the touch line came into focus again early this year with the headline “Spectators at children’s football matches so violent ‘someone will be killed’ parents warned.” This in a weekend which saw one parent threaten to stab a referee, another head-butt a volunteer linesman and young players threatening to vandalise a dressing room, all in the Surrey Youth League. Three years earlier a parent running the line in a youth game in the Netherlands was beaten and kicked to death by a couple of youth players. The nightmare scenario eluded too in ‘Come the Whistle’ had manifested itself in the most horrific way.

Mal Lee_150

Mal Lee, Founder of Don’t X The Line

There are however encouraging stories as in some areas of the country grass roots volunteers have worked tirelessly in making children’s football experience a positive and fun one. DontXtheline who appeared in the ‘Come the whistle’ documentary have worked tirelessly week after week with various ground breaking initiatives.

One of the programmes that Mal Lee and his colleagues have started is the excellent ReFspect programme which has been supported by many youth clubs and leagues around the country as well as county FA’s, the PFA and professional clubs, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal and Sunderland.

Another new initiative from DontXtheline involves a green card, which referees show to highlight incidents of sportsmanship and fair play.

These grassroots organisations that turn up week in week out on the touchlines do this as volunteers and are crying out for funding and a major sponsor. But while groups like DontXtheline have to count every penny, in the world of professional football the game is awash with money. Leicester City this year received three times the prize money Manchester United did in 2008 and the transfer monies, TV deals and wages far outstrip what was happening just 8 years ago. The money in the game is obscene and in comparison, the money given to children’s grassroots football is shameful.

As the rest of this countries’ sports organisations now look to follow corporate football’s greed, we the general public can only sit and read the rest of the world’s observations and comments on GB’s win at all costs approach.

Youth clubs are having to find more and more money as pitch fees and costs spiral (more of that later) and these often have to be passed on in the way of increased subs. Many children are now simply being priced out of the game.

Another area that is in decline is grass roots football pitches. Since the 2012 Olympic Games in London over 100 school playing fields have been sold. They are currently being sold off at a rate of one school playing field every two weeks. Even a modest sized playing field can fetch tens of millions of pounds and even though they are on green belt land, it appears it makes no difference.

The NCFA’s Peace Fields Project tries in vein to combat the importance of preserving community fields through twinning them with Flanders Peace Field, site of the 1914 First World War Christmas Truces. Absolutely no support from the football fraternity has been offered to date.

The FA are building 30 new 3G pitches but according to the Guardian newspaper it comes at a price as around 100 employees have been made redundant to help fund the pitches.  Extraordinary in the current professional football financial climate.

The ‘win at all costs’ philosophy still thrives in children’s football (still mimicking the adults professional game) and it is a bit of a lottery as to whether your child’s football experience is a positive one. The challenges that ‘Come the whistle’ highlighted are still very much evident in the children’s game. Most of the changes have been cosmetic but there is still a hard core of organisations, parents, coaches and others that will continue to fight for the children and their wonderful game.

If you feel that this article resonates with your experiences in the children’s game or if you feel that this article mis-represents your experiences contact the NCFA: info@thecfa.co.uk 

Posted by: | Posted on: May 3, 2016

In Memory of Horst Wein

Horst Wien in memory_W300_H169

Our dear friend, mentor and inspiration passed away on Sunday 14th February 2016. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in the world of football, hockey and beyond.

Born in Hannover, Germany, Horst lived for the latter half of his life in Barcelona, where he is survived by his two sons.

His influence first in the game of hockey started as a German International player, and later as a coach, leading Spain to their first ever European title and an Olympic silver medal. He was the first to be awarded the title of FIH Master Coach and also became the first ever coach to the European team for their match against Asia in 1975. His book “The Science of Hockey” has sold more copies than any other hockey book.

Horst was encouraged by FC Barcelona to bring his game intelligence approach to football and he worked as a consultant for many top European and International clubs as well as a host of international football federations. His lasting legacy to Spanish football is his famous age-appropriate development model “Futbol a la medida del Nino” which has been the official textbook there for more than two decades.

Horst will be fondly remembered for his passion to bring a child-friendly approach to coaching soccer and indeed all sports.

Here are a sample of some of the tributes made to Horst this week:

 I am sorry for your loss…for the entire world’s loss.  Horst’s vision and his passion were wonderful to behold, and I have no doubt that, with your help, it will continue to sweep the world.  The kids embrace it, and soon enough they will outnumber those who don’t.  I feel privileged to have met him and attended your workshop last year.

 

I am saddened to learn the news of Horst’s passing. He was an inspirational coach, and a brilliant human being. I regard it as a privilege to have met Horst, and to have spent quality time with him. His innovative approach to coaching and education and his desire to empower others meant his life will always be remembered. He impacted the world in a healthy way.

 

When great people like Horst pass on we all hurt. We are grateful that he left us with so much to study from, and so much to pass on. Currently, I am in a fight for the basic rights of youth players. Horst and yourself through Funiño and your passion for teaching children have been a great source of strength as I bare down in my battle against those who try to steal the innocence of the Beautiful Game.

Sometimes you know immediately that you have met someone who is a blessing in your life and in that of others. Horst was certainly one of those people and had a vision and a passion to use this great game to empower people, to educate and to serve them. He did this with an open mind and a dreamers heart.

In Horst, we’ve lost a world class soccer visionary. In my view, his methods put him in a class all by himself. He was unique in that he found the formula to enhance knowledge and passion for the game at the same time. All the while staying true to the simple and beautiful game. Because of Horst, there are thousands of players all around the world that got the chance to truly enjoy playing soccer at a higher level…A sad day. Horst will be sorely missed here… Thankfully he remains on the field with us at every session.

 

I receive this news with a heavy heart. It was an absolute honor to have met and learned from Horst. My condolences to his family. The work to deliver his message must go on. His influence is visible in the joy of the children around the world playing the beautiful game. The friendships that I have made through my relation with Horst will certainly go on and I also consider them priceless.

I guess now God will be playing FUNino in heaven! Horst has been a soccer angel on earth! He will be missed not only for his soccer excellence but as a great human being!

 

Horst really lived his life through his love of giving to youth sport…1stly hockey…then Football…he was always ready to learn..and always ready to share….the great thing is he has left a legacy for kids Football just when the world of kids sport really needs to lighten up and allow them to play..lets all carry on his work and help kids enjoy their sport again!

 

I’m thankful to have known him and I’m so appreciative for the friends I’ve made through him. Horst was one of a kind in many ways and he’ll be missed my many around the world.

We will miss you, dear friend, but your work continues in the many coaches you have inspired to care about their sport, whether hockey, football or other, and the many children who have experienced the joy of exploring their game in a care-free discovery environment.

Dermot

General Manager

The Beautiful Game

www.thebeautifulgame.ie

dermot@thebeautifulgame.ie

Posted by: | Posted on: May 3, 2016

In Memory of Horst Wein

Horst Wien in memory_W300_H169

Our dear friend, mentor and inspiration passed away on Sunday 14th February 2016. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in the world of football, hockey and beyond.

Born in Hannover, Germany, Horst lived for the latter half of his life in Barcelona, where he is survived by his two sons.

His influence first in the game of hockey started as a German International player, and later as a coach, leading Spain to their first ever European title and an Olympic silver medal. He was the first to be awarded the title of FIH Master Coach and also became the first ever coach to the European team for their match against Asia in 1975. His book “The Science of Hockey” has sold more copies than any other hockey book.

Horst was encouraged by FC Barcelona to bring his game intelligence approach to football and he worked as a consultant for many top European and International clubs as well as a host of international football federations. His lasting legacy to Spanish football is his famous age-appropriate development model “Futbol a la medida del Nino” which has been the official textbook there for more than two decades.

Horst will be fondly remembered for his passion to bring a child-friendly approach to coaching soccer and indeed all sports.

Here are a sample of some of the tributes made to Horst this week:

 I am sorry for your loss…for the entire world’s loss.  Horst’s vision and his passion were wonderful to behold, and I have no doubt that, with your help, it will continue to sweep the world.  The kids embrace it, and soon enough they will outnumber those who don’t.  I feel privileged to have met him and attended your workshop last year.

 

I am saddened to learn the news of Horst’s passing. He was an inspirational coach, and a brilliant human being. I regard it as a privilege to have met Horst, and to have spent quality time with him. His innovative approach to coaching and education and his desire to empower others meant his life will always be remembered. He impacted the world in a healthy way.

 

When great people like Horst pass on we all hurt. We are grateful that he left us with so much to study from, and so much to pass on. Currently, I am in a fight for the basic rights of youth players. Horst and yourself through Funiño and your passion for teaching children have been a great source of strength as I bare down in my battle against those who try to steal the innocence of the Beautiful Game.

Sometimes you know immediately that you have met someone who is a blessing in your life and in that of others. Horst was certainly one of those people and had a vision and a passion to use this great game to empower people, to educate and to serve them. He did this with an open mind and a dreamers heart.

In Horst, we’ve lost a world class soccer visionary. In my view, his methods put him in a class all by himself. He was unique in that he found the formula to enhance knowledge and passion for the game at the same time. All the while staying true to the simple and beautiful game. Because of Horst, there are thousands of players all around the world that got the chance to truly enjoy playing soccer at a higher level…A sad day. Horst will be sorely missed here… Thankfully he remains on the field with us at every session.

 

I receive this news with a heavy heart. It was an absolute honor to have met and learned from Horst. My condolences to his family. The work to deliver his message must go on. His influence is visible in the joy of the children around the world playing the beautiful game. The friendships that I have made through my relation with Horst will certainly go on and I also consider them priceless.

I guess now God will be playing FUNino in heaven! Horst has been a soccer angel on earth! He will be missed not only for his soccer excellence but as a great human being!

 

Horst really lived his life through his love of giving to youth sport…1stly hockey…then Football…he was always ready to learn..and always ready to share….the great thing is he has left a legacy for kids Football just when the world of kids sport really needs to lighten up and allow them to play..lets all carry on his work and help kids enjoy their sport again!

 

I’m thankful to have known him and I’m so appreciative for the friends I’ve made through him. Horst was one of a kind in many ways and he’ll be missed my many around the world.

We will miss you, dear friend, but your work continues in the many coaches you have inspired to care about their sport, whether hockey, football or other, and the many children who have experienced the joy of exploring their game in a care-free discovery environment.

Dermot

Posted by: | Posted on: October 17, 2015

Chailey The First Network School

Chailey School logo_w225_h225

Peace Field Football Tournament

Chailey School, Thursday 15th October 2015

Chailey School are the first Network School to kick off the Peace Fields Project (PFP) Tournaments. Assistant Head, Tim Dudgeon, led the way for network schools participating in the PFP, commemorating the First World War and celebrating peace through play. The event will be followed-up with the school receiving a plaque next year twinning Chailey School playing fields with Flanders Peace Fields, Messines, Belgium, site of the First World War Christmas Truces.

Presentation Poppy Ball Chailey 2_w300_h169

Assistant Head Teacher, Tim Dudgeon, introduces guest speaker Ernie Brennan from the National Children’s Football Alliance.

It was time for Chailey School’s now annual ‘Peace Field Football Tournament’ on Thursday! This tournament is also part of Chailey School’s ongoing commemoration project on ‘Chailey and The Great War’, the school’s continuing links with local primary schools, and also an important nation-wide project with the National Children’s Football Alliance. Local primary schools from Ditchling, Fletching, Hamsey, Wivelsfield, Plumpton, Newick, Barcombe and Danehill all played with enthusiasm and considerable skill, with both sporting competition and fair play being key parts of the afternoon. Mr Dudgeon, Assistant Headteacher at Chailey School, welcomed Ernie Brennan, Managing Director of the NCFA, to start the event with a ceremony of handing over a ‘Poppy Ball’, marking the school’s playing fields twinning with Flanders Peace Field and the Peace Village at Messines in

National Children's Football Alliance's Ernie Brennan presents Chailey School with a Peace Poppy Ball to kick off the Peace Fields Tournament

National Children’s Football Alliance’s Ernie Brennan presents Chailey School with a Peace Poppy Ball to kick off the Peace Fields Tournament

Belgium (site of the 1914 Christmas Truce). The nation-wide Peace Field Project has invited schools not only to commemorate World War One and the Christmas Truce but also to celebrate peace through reflecting on a moment in history that inspires humanitarianism, and Chailey School is proud to be at the forefront of this and one of the first schools to be involved.

The afternoon, organized by Chailey’s Ms Davey, and refereed and run by the school’s Year 9 Junior Sports Leaders, saw some great football being played in a sporting spirit. In the end, Ditchling won the Year 3 and 4 competition (Wivelsfield and Fletching the Fair Play Award) and Hamsey the Year 5 and 6 (with Plumpton and Hamsey winning the award for Fair Play at that level).