Spirit of Football - Index
There was a time when high standards of behaviour, sportsmanship and fair play were an integral part of football. To players in that era, how the game was played was as important as the result.
Sadly, all too often in today's game, winning seems to be the only thing for most players with falling standards of behaviour on and off the field leaving much to be desired.
What we in the AFC are asking is that we stop for a moment and take the opportunity to consider the way the game is played today, recognising the background reasons for introducing the League's Spirit of Football initiative - reflecting that this remains a great game and that it is far too good to be under any sort of threat.
The proposed campaign is to address the deterioration in the approach of many players in our football, not least with regard to unacceptable language, aggressive, confrontational behaviour and gamesmanship. The aim is to achieve some improvement in these areas in the years ahead, accepting that we will be running against the tide with the changing standards/trends seen in society generally. Nevertheless, we feel that as a League with some influence and a visionary outlook for the future, we should positively address the need for change.
For such a campaign to be worthwhile and to stand any chance of success, it is essential that all involved with the League are fully supportive from now on, by positively promoting the initiative at every opportunity with the theme gathering momentum year on year. The level of success will be dependent on the willingness of players, managers, officials and administrators to embrace the concept and incorporate it into their approach to every game. There is no disgrace in striving for success, but it has to be done in the right way, within the spirit of football. Sporting success and good sportsmanship can, and should, go hand-in-hand.
The campaign will be known as the AFC Spirit of Football, which will become an integral part of the League's branding, appearing on all communications/publicity material, including letterheads, website, handbooks, fixtures, result sheets etc.