A message regarding behaviour at games. Photo credit: Jeremy Denham

The MWFA and our 17 Clubs would like to share our collective concern about the sharp increase in abuse and incidents during the 2023 season.

We believe it is time to take a stand and remind EVERYONE that your football matches on the weekend are not a platform or arena for poor behaviour, or for abusing and confronting each other on the sideline.

It is particularly important that this message sinks in with respect to referees, both during and after matches.

This week alone, the MWFA Disciplinary Committee had 31 cases – some of these incidents have even spilled over into the courts.

At Tuesday night’s Club Forum, the MWFRA (Referees Association) detailed the sharp increase in incidents of abuse of referees, some as young as 14 years of age.

Make no mistake: poor behaviour amongst players, spectators (parents), towards referees and each other will not be tolerated, BUT it’s not just the referees that deserve respect – it is all of you!

We have 20,000 players, 2,000 coaches, 600 referees, roughly 350 Club Committee Members and all of their families. Our “community” is 100,000 strong and all of you deserve to be able to attend matches without being abused, so the time has come for EVERYONE to understand that enough is enough.

The MWFA Playing Rules allow for Team Discipline Points to be allocated against teams for the behaviour of the players, coaches and the parents/spectators.

The behaviour of spectators and parents can cause teams to pick up Team Discipline Points and be expelled from the competition for the remainder of the season. In previous seasons we have had instances of junior teams being expelled because of the behaviour of parents and spectators and it can happen again!

This message has the full support of the 17 clubs, including your club, and we will stand united against this increase in anti-social behaviour.

Please respect each other and take a moment to reflect on why we play grassroots community football. If things don’t go your way on the weekend, take a breath and consider your actions.


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