The FA has signed a three-year partnership with Nationwide Building Society in an attempt to grow the governing bodies Respect programme, an initiative created to promote a positive and enjoyable football environment.
Nationwide’s involvement will be primarily focused on the grassroots sector with the firm ensuring that ‘a million players, parents and coaches’ will engage with the Respect programme over the duration of the partnership.
James Kendall, the FA’s director of football development, stated: “Over the years, the Respect campaign has championed the importance of mutual respect on and off the football pitch most particularly amongst young people. We have worked hard to provide players with the guidance and confidence to act in this way; the same is true for parents, referees and the communities they play within.
“It is so good, then, that we can work with partners such as Nationwide who understand the positive impact football can have on society and share our determination to improve the game.”
According to research done by Nationwide, levels of disrespect in the game have increased as 66 per cent of Brits feel levels have become unacceptable. Additionally, 71 per cent feel that the problem has got worse in the last two years, hence why the firm has teamed up with the FA in an attempt to resolve this issue.
The partnership has also come at a time when the government has announced the return of grassroots activities. However, the FA has confirmed that a variety of hygiene and safety measures have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Sara Bennison, Nationwide’s chief marketing officer, added: “2020 has not been the year any of us expected, [with] so much distress, but we have also had a sharp reminder of how dependent on each other we all are.
“Fostering greater mutual respect becomes more important than ever. The FA have demonstrated such a great commitment to this at a grassroots level and we are delighted to be able to help them expand their Respect programme.”
It is not just the FA which has received the support of Nationwide, with the firm also supporting the countries other home nations.
The organisation has struck a deal with the Football Association of Wales (FAW), which will also run for three years, to support its FAW’s ‘Fair Play Award’, among other initiatives. Moreover, Nationwide has extended its contract with the Scottish FA in support of the ‘Positive Play’ campaign whilst a partnership with the Irish Football Association has also been completed.