‘And the winner is…’

English football’s unsung heroes were honoured at The FA’s annual Respect and Fair Play Awards

Before The FA Cup Final, Prime Minister David Cameron joined guests of The FA in honouring leagues, clubs and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to promoting respect, fair play, improving standards of behaviour and supporting referees at all levels. “It’s important that we recognise the role models who do so much great work on and off the pitch,” said the Prime Minister. “This sends out a clear message about the power football has to transform communities and people’s lives.” All 13 winners received an Award and a cash prize to be used for the benefit of football.

Football League Fair Play Award [Championship] Winner: Watford FC

The Hornets on average received just one caution a game in a season that saw them beat champions QPR and twice hold promoted Norwich City to a draw. 

Football League Fair Play Award [League One] Winner: Rochdale FC

Winners for the second season in a row, Rochdale’s style of play has proved a hit with fans. The club has also just announced record season ticket sales for the 2011-12 campaign.

More after the break

Football League Fair Play Award [League Two] Winner: Crewe Alexandra FC

Crewe Alexandra combine flair and Fair Play. They boast the League Two’s Golden Boot winner in Clayton Donaldson and remained competitive despite receiving just two red and 41 yellow cards in their 51-game season.

National League System Leagues [Steps 1-4] Winner: Northern Premier League

The Northern Premier League continues to set an example. Through a mix of peer pressure, persuasion and good example they have significantly improved conduct in the technical areas, dissent cautions are down by 21% and 17 out of the 23 targeted clubs have improved their disciplinary records.

National League System Club [Steps 1-4] winner: Lancaster City FC

Lancaster City have repeated last year’s achievements. The club’s management of its players is impressive given that financially it is not in a position to pay them.

National League System Leagues [Steps 5-7] Winner: The Reading Football League

The Reading League was praised for its close working relationship with clubs to deal with problematic issues. They provide a supportive development environment for young referees and support for match officials yields a near 100 per cent coverage across all of its divisions.

Women’s Pyramid of Football [League] Winner: East Midlands Regional Women’s Football League

They have worked hard to establish high standards, including a ‘Fair Play’ monitoring scheme that results in a fine for any team achieving less than a mark of five. There has also been a commitment to develop and recognise the contribution of referees.

Women’s Pyramid of Football [Clubs] Winner: Sheffield FC Ladies

Sheffield Ladies won the Women’s Pyramid Club Award after demonstrating a handling  of some challenging behaviour issues. Sheffield Ladies are also a Chartered Standard Community Club.

Grassroots Adult League Winner: Nalders West Cornwall Sunday Football League

Nalders West Cornwall Sunday League caught the eye with a marking scheme
conducted by referees. There is an average of one caution every three games and
there are a third of clubs with no cautions at all.

Grassroots Youth League Winner: Harrow Soccer 7s Combination 

Based in Middlesex, this League provides football for 560 teams and 9,000 registered players and has fully implemented the use of the pre-match Respect handshake, codes of conduct and spectator barriers.

Grassroots Club Winner: Sale United Football Club 

Sale introduced and implemented a ‘zero tolerance’ policy at its home ground which soon grabbed the attention of the football community in the North West. 

Education Winner: Sheppey Valley Community Learning Partnership

Aidan Winney worked with nine schools in the Sheppey Valley, presenting Respect at school assemblies, working with pupils with learning difficulties and staging a festival of football under the Respect banner.

Bobby Moore Individual Award Winner: Deborah Wyatt

Deborah Wyatt was appalled by the verbal abuse directed at her son at a youth match and has since taken the Respect message far and wide. She estimates she has delivered to more than 138,000 people.

Award judges this year included Bobby Moore’s widow Stephanie Moore MBE, of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research, and sports journalists Mick Dennis of the Daily Express and Jim White from the Daily Telegraph. They were joined by The FA’s Sir Trevor Brooking [Director of Football Development], Barry Bright [FA Board Member] and Alan Wiley [Professional Game Match Officials].

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