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Youth league in bid to ramp up respect
THE Eastleigh & District Mini League will attempt to succeed where the Premiership has so far failed with regards to the FA's Respect scheme.
Top flight bosses Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Joe Kinnear, Paul Ince and Mark Hughes have all been in the news recently after criticising referees.
The latest stream of criticisms of officials has led the FA to try and organise a meeting with the League Managers Association and leading bosses.
Meanwhile, down at the heartbeat of grass-roots football, the Eastleigh & District Mini League officials are determined to ensure a small outbreak of onfield dissent doesn’t grow into a much bigger problem.
For the first time in the league's 10-year history, officials have been told about instances of players - the league caters for under-8, under-9 and under-10 games - using bad language.
Mini league chairman Jim Pearson said: “We have had some reports of bad language which is a bit worrying.“We are determined to try and nip this in the bud before it becomes a major issue.
“When you see things like we’ve seen in the Premiership recently it doesn’t help, but we can’t use that as an excuse for not doing anything.
“We must not lose the focus of what we are trying to do, and so we have to keep on nagging away at our clubs.
“We ignore this sort of thing at our peril.
“I agree that the Respect campaign should start from the top, I totally endorse that, but we must concentrate on our own league first. We don’t want to let things get out of control.
“I truly believe that we must attack the Respect campaign from both ends – from the top and from the bottom.
“Because things aren’t happening in the Premier doesn’t mean we use that as an excuse to put it on the back burner at our level. We need to be proactive and keep on reminding people of their responsibilities.”