Respect - Referees

Referees have a central role in the Respect campaign. Used correctly it should help the referee apply the laws of the games.

Respect is a continuous FA programme, not a one-off initiative. Its goal is to allow people to play, officiate and watch football without being abused, mocked, insulted, jeered, physically assaulted, unnecessarily criticised, pushed too hard, driven to tears or laughed at for trying.

We know only too well that referees can, and do, experience abuse on the pitch – and from the side-lines. Respect aims to deal with the abuse of referees by making it unacceptable and just as importantly, taking action against those committing the abuse.

The Respect programme includes four practical steps to improve behaviour – on the pitch – and on the side-lines:

Codes of Conduct

Referee managing the game

Captain taking responsibility

Designated Spectators’ Area

Clearly, does not alter a referee’s basic responsibilities when officiating and controlling a football match:
The Laws of the Game

Effective management

Positive communication skills.

Creating an encouraging environment should result in an enjoyable experience for everyone. Understanding and applying the four key principals should make life easier for you.

Code of Conduct:

Please find the Referees Code of Conduct at the bottom of this page.

Please find all other RESPECT Code of Conducts at the bottom of this page, just for your information.

Referee managing the game

As the referee, you are expected to work with the team captains to manage the players and the game effectively. You must control the game by applying the Laws of the Game and deal firmly with any open show of dissent by players. Respect does not negate the fact that as the referee, you have the authority within the Laws of the Game to issue disciplinary sanctions without recourse.

Captain taking responsibility

To promote Respect the referee will work with the team captain, to manage the players and the game effectively. The captain, has no special status or privileges under the Laws of the Game, but they do have a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of the team.

Designated Spectators’ Areas
Another key principle of Respect is the demarcation of areas on the sidelines for spectators. Your league will work with its clubs to promote the use of Designated Spectators’ Areas and ensure they are clearly marked prior to the start of the game. Referees are asked to work in collaboration with any club officials who may be present to pro-actively support the correct use of the Designated Spectators’ Area.

Respect will only work if we are fair and consistent. Ignore people's abusive behaviour, those who do not keep to their Code, and there is no Respect. As a referee you have a pivotal role to play.