# Saturday, 19 July 2008

Northumberland FA is introducing barriers at its junior football games after problems with over zealous parents. The barriers are designed to put a distance between the spectators and the action with the aim being to stop attacks on referees and reduce pressure on the young players. As someone whose father was the manager of a youth team for nearly ten years I don't find these measures surprisingly. Unfortunately the parents, and that's mothers as well as fathers often take the game much too seriously. I can remember several incidents where parents of opposing sides nearly came to blows and many more when they took their frustrations out of the referee. Our referees were always volunteers and after a while we ran out of people who would offer to do the job, often having to rely on one the parents themselves so that the game could go ahead. Much more common were situations were young boys ended up in tears because of abusive comments from parents who really should know better. Perhaps banning abusive parents from the games altogether might have more effect. What do you think? Have you come across bad behaviour at junior football games?

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