Parents told: ‘pipe down on pitchside’

Youngsters preparing for the shhh silent weekend at the Lancashire FA,  Leyland
Youngsters preparing for the shhh silent weekend at the Lancashire FA, Leyland
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Parents are being told to pipe down and give their kids some peace to play football.

The Lancashire Football Association is asking over-zealous mums and dads to refrain from shouting from the sidelines as part of a ‘silent weekend’.

And Preston North End’s manager Simon Grayson has backed the scheme to stop adults disrupting children’s matches.

He said: “I have been on the touchline watching my son and have winced a few times when I’ve heard what some parents have come out with.

“As a parent I’m pretty relaxed, I just watch and take things in. If my son wants any advice, we talk about it later. So I think this is a good idea.”

The LFA has called on clubs across the region to sign up to the weekend. It will be the first of its kind and the body has received national acclaim for trying to change attitudes and behaviour in youth football.

County Welfare Officer Neil Yates said: “Some people will love it, some will hate it and some will need time to think.

“But really we just want people to see the difference.

“We want coaches, parents and adults to stay quiet, stop shouting and let them play.”

The LFA are demanding that all adults to refrain from any shouting or direct communication with players over the weekend and nearly 200 clubs from 19 leagues have signed up.

Yates said: “Shouting and abusive language is something we have inherited from the adult game and we want to try a weekend without the noise - but of course we still want people to cheer and applaud.”

The whole of Lostock Hall Juniors football club has signed up. Club secretary Darryl Cartwright said: “It is important to take part in this weekend because some children are intimidated or frightened by the amount of excessive noise from the sidelines and the different instructions being communicated by officials, parents and supporters.

“People have been known to leave grass roots football because of the shouting and it has been known to escalate to swearing and even aggression.”

Whilst PNE player Paul Gallagher agrees. He said: “As a kid you just want to enjoy playing football.

“When I was younger, my dad just let me get on with it.”

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