A CAMPAIGN has been launched focusing on spectator behaviour in youth football.

The campaign 'Respect Heroes' is run by the Westmorland County Football Association and aims to focus on improving touch line and inspector behaviour.

Football Development Officer, James Pattison said: "This project really focuses on that behaviour in youth football, we're looking to really raise awareness of what's acceptable and what isn't acceptable, how to be a good role model and how to create a better positive environment for people to be apart of."

The Westmorland County FA have also developed eight key points that make a great spectator. Mr Pattison said: "A good spectator is someone who is positive all the time, they are welcoming to their own players and the opposition.

"They also are respectful to the referee, the coaches and they try and work together with the club. They can also be someone who sets a positive example on the side lines and someone who can enjoy the whole game without letting their emotions of allegiances take over."

In 2021 the UK was named 'by far' the largest country of origin for abusive, racist tweets sent to England players after the team lost the European Championship final to Italy.

On why we see so much anger directed at players, Mr Pattison said: "Abuse has always been there it has always not been a great part of the game.

"I think there is a bit more focus on it now so when there are incidents they are brought to light. I think there is more awareness now of what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable and we are trying to drive that point even further locally."

Each week the Westmorland County FA will be giving away one of their respect boards which reminds everyone of the behaviours they should be demonstrating whilst watching football.

Already the group have had over 60 entries to win one of the respect boards.

"Over the next few weeks we are going to look for clubs to be more engaging a little bit more and sharing how they ensure that the spectators are well behaved."