Ireland's sporting bodies team up to launch new 'Respect' campaign

GAA President Larry McCarthy
GAA President Larry McCarthy

THE GAA, FAI and IRFU have teamed up to support a new Respect campaign both on and off the field and will introduce a number of measures at their games on the weekend of October 7/8 to highlight its importance.

To kick things off, the three main sporting bodies in Ireland are working together and are committed to running fair play awards at adult matches, silent or positive sidelines at youth games and presentations to the parents and coaches on the positive influence they can bring to the games.

Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Larry McCarthy said: “Respect has to be at the heart of our games and activities and this applies not only to Gaelic games but to everyone who organises or who is involved in sport. All sport organisations need to bring to life their declaration and commitment to respect and display it at every game.

“Last year our clubs and counties responded very well to our campaign to underline the importance of match officials and for more to be done on respecting and valuing their contribution to our games."

McCarthy added: “During this year's inter-county season we promoted a message of respect, tolerance and understanding online. That culture of respect should exist on our sidelines, between our players and volunteers and amongst supporters. When people have a positive experience in our sports they enjoy them more, stay involved longer, and look to give back to their sport as a result.

"It is a project that will never have a finish line and needs to be a focus beyond one weekend - but our project coordination with the IRFU and the FAI is important because as sporting associations, we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to set an example and I encourage all our units to step up to this call to action."

Over 40 per cent of the adult population participate in sport, with an additional 12 per cent involved in volunteering and over 30 per cent reported as being a member of a club.

The respective sporting bodies believe this initiative has the chance to impact many people and highlight the important role that sport can play in people’s lives when conducted in a positive manner.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill (left) has rowed in behind the new respect campaign
FAI CEO Jonathan Hill (left) has rowed in behind the new respect campaign

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “Respect for referees is a core principle highlighted in our recent #NoRefNoGame campaign and respect for each other has to be a core principle running across the whole of the Irish football community.

"We all have a part to play to make sure we act in the right way in all dealings with fellow players, coaches and administrators across the game and accept that as a basic and defining approach to everything we do. We're delighted to partner with the IRFU and GAA in delivering this co-ordinated message as we all put the focus on respecting individuals across all elements of our sports.”

Speaking about the initiative, IRFU CEO, Kevin Potts said: “In rugby we are fortunate that there is a long tradition and culture of respect that is rooted in our game.

"We do not take for granted the pivotal role of match officials and volunteers in helping our sport to run smoothly and it is imperative that these individuals are treated with the utmost respect. Weekends such as this are essential in keeping these values thriving in our game and I am pleased we are working with the GAA and FAI to deliver this important message.”