Bring the parents of young soccer players to more temperance along the handrails. Remind, for example, the most enthusiastic that it is useless to “massacre” the opposing team and the most technical that the coach is better placed than them to know whether such and such a player should evolve in front or behind. Especially when it comes to children from 6 to 12 years old. This is the philosophy of the operation “Touch not my football”, launched this Wednesday by the district of Haute-Garonne through a two-minute clip, shot at child height. He has enough to make more than one not very objective adult blush, quick to intimidate a young referee or to cry foul when his talented offspring is robbed of the ball.
Obviously, these “flammades” and parental incivilities are as old as football tournaments and not really confined to Toulouse or its countryside. “But the phenomenon tends to increase a little bit since the return of confinement, in particular during football entertainment sets [petits tournois du week-end] 6-12 year olds, without challenge, without uphill, without downhill, and where we sometimes have the impression of living real Champions League matches, ”explains Marco Sentein, the district president.
“Imagine that in class, five parents sitting at the back dispute the instructions”
“There is indeed a change in behavior around the railings, confides Bernard Maquoy, the president of the Castanet club, in the suburbs of the Pink City. With in particular an avalanche of instructions to players which in fact are contradictory with those of the coaches. Imagine that in class, four or five parents sitting at the back contest the instructions of the teacher”. The leader says he is “completely in favor of providing behavioral keys” especially for cases – “much more annoying” – where “passion is unleashed against opponents or arbitration”.
Sometimes anger even turns into aggression. As in Cugnaux in September 2021. For a dark story of Covid-19 quarantine to be respected after the holidays, a father physically attacked two educators.
So how to explain this “excitement” at the edge of the lawns? “There are more and more parents who project themselves by seeing the salaries of stars in the media. They convince themselves that they have a future Mbappé or Benzema at home, ”notes Marco Sentein. And the phenomenon is not unique to football. “Other federations of rugby, basketball and hand”, are also worried about him.
“Don’t touch my football” is not just a clip to put virulent parents to shame. Starting next season, the clubs organizing trays will receive three green chasubles in the name of the operation. They can ask peacemaker parents to endorse them. And the latter, just like the departmental technicians who have come as observers, will be able to send reports to the district site. “Then, explains Marco Sentein, we will call the president to calm his supporters. And, if it doesn’t work, the team will simply not play the next meeting. On this point, Bernard Maquoy, thinks that it will be necessary “to handle the idea with precaution”. “Parents will have to be volunteers and have a little training so as not to fall into denunciation or revenge between rival clubs”.
Youth educators will also be sensitized. In case of bad attitude, they will be able to collect a “white card”, already in force among the seniors of the District and which involve 10 minutes of temporary exclusion. And when that happens, they will have to designate an outfield player to serve the sentence with them, even if it means having to justify themselves afterwards to the little ones. “The goal is to give them back their sport”, insists Marco Sentein.