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Having watched Pepe (Real Madrid) the other night and the disgraceful play acting during a major final, I started to think about all the effort coaches, organisations and players have made to encourage respect in the game. Clearly, Pepe has no respect for himself or the game. However, if we zoom the lense out and look at sport more broadly, has the message of respect been strong enough, and how much damage does the behaviour shown by Pepe do. What more can we do?
My gut feeling is that we've been trying to much of a bottom up approach, hoping that instilling this respect culture in young people is going to work it's way up to the top levels. Of course it wont because all the fantastic work that clubs up and down the country do is wasted when millions of children see La Liga style play acting. I've tried to watch Spanish football and honestly cant - it makes me too angry! It's started to look like WWE wrestling, so for me this needs to be a top down approach. Play acting is a sending off offence and then we move on. The referee in the Liverpool Uefa Cup final seemed not in the sluightest interested about the opposition play acting (i'm not a Liverpool fan in case people are thinkign sour grapes).
I think that the problem comes down, ultimately, to money.
The stories about respect - or rather lack of it - tend to revolve around football where players are paid an absolute fortune and with that have a lot of associated power. It is also about establishing the authority of the officials in the game.
Contrast that to some other sports...
Rugby: Referees have a lot of respect there. Just watch a clip of Nigel Owens! I have seen numerous examples of teams being moved back 10 yards for arguing and so forth. Also, I remember Sam Warbaton getting sent off in the world cup match. Right at the start of the game. Just walked off when shown the red card. No-one approached the ref. Noone was shouting in his face. THe team just got on with it.
Cricket: The umpire's word is final. Argue there and you are in trouble. I remember the outcry when tv screens were put in gounds which would show replays of dismissals and a batsman hesitated to watch it before leaving. The outcry about that!!
For me, I completely agree that it has to be a top down move. The sport has to be strong enough to say that multiple players running up to the ref every decision he makes and yelling obsenities in his face is unnaceptable. It is a circular problem. The lack of respect is then replicated in people watching the game. I am sure we have all heard people shouting from the sidelines at the ref. The press are always critical...and watching all of this are the kids we are trying to coach.
Children will react to what they see on the TV and sidelines. They will emulate that. We, as coaches, can look to instill in them the idea of respect but if they dont see that when they watch their idols or their parents then will they ever really do it?
That is not to say we dont try...but we need help.
Until they stop paying players millions, play acting will never stop.
In footbal players are as only as good as their last game.
I always remenber in the 2002? world cup Wayne Rooney got injured and people said we would win the world cup. in 2006? Wayne didn't always start and was substitted regurarly. All the goals England scorred were were scored when Rooney wasn't playing!
Thats how sucessful to Englands sucess he is.
Daid Beckham became a god Captain and akways creamed at Ronet to calm down.
sorrry about the large text at the end. i don't know why it went big!
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