Discipline Roadshows Create Positive Football Environment in 2022/23

Lincolnshire FA's 'Enough is Enough' Discipline Roadshows were recently shortlisted for a CFA Recognition Award

Lincolnshire FA's Football Operations Team have recently seen their ‘Enough is Enough’ Discipline Roadshows shortlisted in the Positive Football Environment category in the County FA Recognition Awards 2023.

But what are the 'Enough is Enough' Discipline Roadshows? And what impact did they have following their delivery last season?

The Need

As a County FA, we recognised, prior to the commencement of the 2022/23 season, a continuing upward trend in the number of incidents of misconduct being reported to us. In the 2020/21 Season, we began tracking misconduct reports using Smartsheets and found we had received and completed 227 investigations in relation to reports of alleged misconduct in grassroots football. Of these 227 investigations, this resulted in 166 misconduct charges being raised. 

In the 2021/22 season, these numbers rose significantly, with misconduct investigations rising by 66% to 377. Misconduct charges for season 21/22 also rose by 41%, resulting in 234 misconduct charges arising from reports of alleged misconduct. This increase in poor behaviour has also had an impact on enjoyment of the game at grassroots level nationally, with the FA’s own positivity score dropping from 70% in January 2021 to 63% in May 2022. 

Alongside the data demonstrating dissatisfaction with poor behaviour within grassroots football, we also received more feedback in the 2021/22 season from clubs in relation to the disciplinary process. 

The feedback we received from clubs in Lincolnshire who had been charged with misconduct and had sanctions imposed showed that we, as County FA, needed to help individuals understand how to report and the process they would go through following a report. The feedback also suggested we needed to better educate them on what to do following an incident. 

The Objective

The initial aims of the ‘Enough is Enough’ roadshows were to deliver 4 face-to-face sessions across Lincolnshire to at least 85 grassroots volunteers associated with clubs and leagues. By delivering these sessions, we aimed to better the understanding of volunteers within Lincolnshire on how to report an incident and what happens with that report, as well as any timescales associated with any investigation into misconduct. 

Within this delivery, we were also seeking to encourage clubs to deal with issues which do not require County FA intervention in-house through their own disciplinary processes.

We also sought to outline to leagues the options available within the FA regulations to address repeated incidents of poor behaviour by the same individuals within their league. 

By developing understanding of the disciplinary process, we wanted to build confidence in the reporting mechanism and highlight the changes the process has undergone. The ‘Enough is Enough’ workshops were designed to change the pre-existing conceptions of discipline and demonstrate that any reports would be investigated seriously.

The result

As a result, 7 ‘Enough is Enough’ roadshows were delivered across Lincolnshire between November 2022 and February 2023 - with 167 grassroots volunteers engaging in the events.

To help with the engagement with the roadshows, we collaborated with 6 of our grassroots leagues to develop sessions specific to their league and provide them with information relevant to challenges they may face. By engaging with our leagues, this allowed us to reach more volunteers within grassroots football. Particularly within discipline, it’s not a topic volunteers traditionally want to engage in, so by working with the leagues - we were able to get much greater participation in the roadshows than we could normally expect. 

The delivery of the roadshows themselves was done by Lincolnshire FA staff, and the content featured discipline data to showcase the trends and challenges in discipline across Lincolnshire, whilst also featuring specific data for each league to help them better understand the challenges they are facing, and where they fit into the overall narrative of the county. CFARA23 Positive Football Environment Nomination Graphic

As part of the delivery of the roadshows, there were a few interactive elements to test volunteers understanding of the disciplinary process and their attitudes towards acceptable/unacceptable behaviours. This included example scenarios of real incidents reported to the Lincolnshire FA during the 2021/22 season to understand how these should be reported, the reporting process in general, and an interactive Q&A session so we could also receive feedback on the previous experience of grassroots volunteers. 

Feedback from the delivery of the roadshows was also positive, with many attendees expecting a lecture for an hour but were pleasantly surprised to have an opportunity to discuss and interact with the delivery. 
“Very useful. We have reiterated the content to all our managers and asked them to conduct a meeting with their parents to adhere to the code of conduct. I would like to see more of these face-to-face roadshows in the future.” said one attendee.
Following on from the success of the ‘Enough is Enough' Discipline Roadshows, we are aiming to deliver 4 events for the 2023/24 season. These will feature as part of club forums to hopefully capture a broader audience than we did in season 2022/23. The delivery of these sessions will again be data driven. As we receive discipline reports for the 23/24 season, we will make informed decisions on the trends in behaviour that need to be address or common questions in the process that arise.  

Alistair Hayes, Business Support Officer at Lincolnshire FA, said: "We're delighted that our 'Enough is Enough' disciplinary roadshows and the positive impact they had have been recognised nationally by The FA. This is something that, as a Football Operations team, we are incredibly proud of. We listened to the feedback from clubs and leagues and recognised that we needed to deliver something that demonstrated our commitment to transparency on the discipline processes and to improve the understanding grassroots volunteers have for an often complex process. We also have seen from our own data the increases in poor behaviour, and felt we needed to support clubs and leagues in challenging this behaviour. This culminated in the delivery of 7 roadshows across Lincolnshire and we were delighted to see 167 grassroots volunteers attending and engaging with a discussion about discipline."


For more information on discipline, and the work Lincolnshire FA do in this area, click here.

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