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Shout Nice (Råb Pænt)
campaign launched in Denmark

The Danish Football Association (DBU) launches a campaign to improve parent, coach and spectator behaviour and language at community and junior football matches.

Seven out of ten referees at youth and non-league football matches in Denmark have experienced abusive behaviour and language over the last two years (something we fear is far too common across the world, hence why there is a shortage of qualified officials at many football leagues.  There are community leagues in the UK where 40% of matches will not have accredited referees.

In Denmark, over the last two years
  • 55 per cent of football referees have experienced coaches using foul language at them
  • 53 per cent of football referees have experienced spectators using foul language at them
  • 52 per cent of football referees have experienced players using foul language at them
  • 23 per cent of football referees have experienced threats in connecting with a match where they are officiating

In England, 93.7% of match officials say they have experienced verbal abuse – higher than other sports such as cricket (56.5%) and rugby union (53.7%), and significantly higher than in other European countries.

Abuse is still a significant issue, probably the biggest in refereeing. Mental health within referees is intrinsically tied to abuse. According to the Football Association, which governs the game in England, assaults occur in 0.007% of matches, approximately two a week.

 

An FA spokesperson said: “We work alongside our County FA network to offer all referees in their local area appropriate support.

But the story of Satyam Toki, a 28-year-old referee who was left bleeding after being hit by a footballer he had sent off for foul language at a game in Acton, Ealing, London, on 9th August 2020. Officials from around the country looked on in horror as the video clip of this vicious assault was disseminated across referee forums and on social media.

The player who committed the assault received just a warning from police after being given a 10-year ban by the local football association.
Police say they issued the caution after careful consideration, but Toki believes there is an element of racial discrimination to the decision as attacks on white officials have led to assault charges and court proceedings.

 

 Toki says it sends out the wrong message about protecting officials:
“This was an unprovoked attack and I don’t really know why the police have come to this decision. I was injured above my eye and my kit was covered in blood, I believe they haven’t done their job properly. There have been incidents in the past where they have taken individuals to court. I didn’t want to mention it but it feels like discrimination against me. If something had happened against a white official, would it have been taken more seriously?”

Further outrage from Toki’s assault ensued when, upon appeal, the perpetrator of the vicious attack had his FA playing ban reduce by half, to five years. This left many referees feeling incredibly uneasy about going out to officiate at a time when Toki’s assault was on the front and back pages and there was a multitude of other attacks taking place, such another in the same week which left a referee with a perforated eardrum. Many officials said it did not sit right with them that criminals were being allowed to play again sooner, with a groundswell of opinion amongst referees that assaults on match officials should lead to a lifetime ban from football before a referee is killed.

That was was the case in Holland where 41-year-old Richard Nieuwenhuizen was kicked to death by six teenagers and the father of one of the boys when operating as an assistant referee.

Most of the terms used by the spectators whether in Denmark, England or somewhere else we can not print here, but I am sure we have are all aware of them or have indeed heard them ourselves.

Foul language must be kicked out
The Danish Råb Pænt campaign gives a strong hint to players, coaches, spectators and refs to stop using foul language and cheer on the matches using some more encouraging terms.

Bent Clausen, vice-chair of DBU says:

“Football is about emotions, about togetherness and fighting spirit.  That is the heart of football and we shouldn’t change that. But we will not tolerate bad behaviour and offensive language at football matches and that is why we are insistent that we must respect each other and be well-behaved every time we play football.

Especially, we must protect our new and young referees, because otherwise, their bad experiences will cause them to stop refereeing.

The campaign includes a video that, in a slightly humorous way show that you can use an acceptable language jgarjgrjgrejgretjgertjgtej

It also includes posters to be put in changing rooms and clubhouses encouraging people to Shout Nice (Råb Pænt) and Show Respect (Husk Respekten).

 

 

There is also a competition where you can win a shirt signed by the Danish national team and tickets for a Danish international match.

You have come up with something humourous that Danish international goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel could be saying when he is facing a penalty-taker!

The Danish FA puts much emphasis on improving the culture within the clubs and show respect for officials, opponents and everyone else that come to the club. Coaches, committee members and other volunteers should play a key role in developing a more friendly, respectful and welcoming culture all across the club.

And, finally, a question to you:

How you are making sure that you, your club and your team treat the officials, referees, umpires and you come in contact with feel welcome and respected?