General Information 2/5
Sportsmanship & Respect
Football is a fantastic game loved by millions of people in the Netherlands. It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that remains the case. Everybody should be able to play in a safe and enjoyable way and the KNVB and all its associated clubs do their best to make that happen. The implementation of the new game formats gives us as the KNVB, together with the clubs, the opportunity to help youthful footballers understand what is desirable behaviour on and around the pitch, and what not.
Enjoyment: pleasure on the sideline
The new structure of youth football is the result of the KNVB's effort towards the optimal development and playing pleasure of youthful footballers. Just as important as the pleasure gained from playing the game is the way in which people behave on the pitch and along the sideline. But do all trainers, managers and parents have the playing pleasure of the children entrusted to them top of mind? In many cases, they do indeed. But we also see that occasionally a kind of behaviour creeps into the game that cannot be called positive. The KNVB shoulders a massive responsibility to safeguard and stimulate sportsmanship and respect on and around the pitches.
The KNVB puts a lot of time and energy into promoting positive behaviour on and around the pitches. That is why we are introducing rituals as of the 2017/2018 season. We wish to pass these on to youthful footballers in order to promote desirable behaviour and football pleasure. These rituals will contribute to a longer-term healthier football culture.
Read about the rituals
The role of the trainer / coach
How to facilitate youthful footballers, their games, football pleasure and development? A wonderful challenge for a coach, despite the responsibility it brings with it. This requires knowledge of youth football and coaching as well as a child's development and age-related characteristics. Truly important in this approach is the need to create a safe environment and positively stimulate youthful footballers by being enthusiastic, paying them compliments and emphasising the good things they do as well as telling them that it's okay to make mistakes.
The role of parents / guardians
In addition to the coach, the parents /guardians of a child naturally contribute significantly to an enjoyable and safe environment for youthful footballers. In this way, they contribute directly to the playing pleasure and development of their youthful footballers. Examples of positive behaviour are giving encouragement and the right example, acting sportsmanlike, rewarding effort, focusing on process - the development - instead of winning, letting children be themselves and - most of all - enabling them to enjoy football to the full.
The role of the match supervisor and referee
The role of the match supervisor and referee makes an indelible impression with regard to sportsmanship and respect, but also in terms of playing development and football enjoyment. The match supervisor and referee can influence how a player enjoys the game by taking honest decisions and ensuring structure and discipline.
More information about the role of the match supervisor (Dutch PDF)
1. Shaking hands and high-five
During the preparation of the pilots of the new game formats, we asked the clubs what they consider important with regard to sportsmanship and respect. There was overwhelming endorsement for: 'shaking hands' or 'high-fiving' before and after the game. It would be fantastic if this were to become standard practice in the game of football and that we would be able to promote respect for the opposition in this way. Nobody has ever won a game without an opposition on the pitch. Research into bad behaviour on the pitch indicates that the chance of misbehaving diminishes drastically if you have met and spoken to each other beforehand. The high-five, especially for the youngest youth, is an appropriate way to convey the imperative of respect for the opposition before and after the game.
Do you as a club want to stimulate sportsmanship and respect? Then let youthful footballers start each game by shaking hands or high-fiving the opposition before and after the game.
2. No league tables and rankings for the Under-8s and Under-9s
Children aged under 10 are not yet capable of projecting weeks ahead. They are primarily interested in the here and now - and match day itself. Naturally enough, they want to win. But if that doesn't happen, then they can be just as happy after the game about that wonderful run or that fantastic goal or the penalty that found the net.
As of the 2017/2018 season, the KNVB will no longer be maintaining league tables and rankings for the Under-8s and Under-9s. As of the 2018/2019 season, this will also be the case for the Under 10s.
Running a competition and working towards a championship is primarily of value and interest to trainers, managers and parents. The unfortunate consequence of this is that the behaviour of these adults towards children - and towards each other - can leave something to be desired. In the interests of a child's playing pleasure, we are abolishing league tables and rankings. We will keep track of the results, however. This enables us to play a pro-active role in ensuring that teams of approximately the same playing strength are pitted against one another. In coming to this decision, we took account of the results and impact of the FAIR-PLAY competition.
3. PENALTIES AFTER THE GAME
Both teams will take penalties after the game. Youthful footballers always regard the taking of a penalty as a wonderful way to end the game and this ensures an even greater sense of pleasure and enjoyment. This is not only the case for the winning team, but also for the players on the losing side. In the new 6v6 game format, penalties will be taken seven metres from the goal. In the 8v8 format, penalties will be taken from nine metres.