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)