Gillingham FC's Girls Centre of Excellence show their support to the FA's Respect initiative

The Girls Centre of Excellence fixtures against Essex County FA on October 10 was also our Match of Action to help promote The FA’s ‘Respect – Set Your Stall Out’ weekend, and show that football can unite. 

In the build up to our fixture against Essex players, parents and coaches alike supported the campaign by proudly wearing RESPECT t-shirts and scarves at training and highlighted the important and positive message of the campaign that all at the centre abide by.

The FA provided a range of Respect resources for clubs which served to raise awareness in pavilions, changing rooms and on touchlines at clubs up and down the country.

Now in its eighth season The FA saw 1,500 clubs take part across 100 Leagues in the campaign last weekend, 25% up on last year’s numbers. Since the launch of the campaign dissent cautions (abuse or back chat to referees) has declined by 23%. 

This improvement is reflected in a decline in all misconduct charges, dismissals and to everyone’s relief – assaults on referees. 

There are now approximately 27,000 registered referees, which is up from around 23,000 in 2008 and, more importantly, mentoring to young referees and the coverage of fixtures has improved considerably as has enjoyment of games. 

"What these stats mean in reality is a more positive and enjoyable environment for the game to take place in," said Respect manager Dermot Collins. 

"And because of this, it’s much more likely that we keep coming back week after week  - whether as players, referees, volunteers, parents or spectators.”