Harry Kane pens letter to parents of kids football teams to help young players

Harry Kane and Steph Houghton have penned open letters to parents and spectators of grassroots football telling them to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.

The FA today launched the Pledge of Positivity initiative that will aim to encourage those on the side-lines to support all players involved and respect referees, coaches and other spectators.

And England captains Houghton and Kane are the first two people to make their pledge, encouraging others to follow suit.

The Pledge is based on The FA’s RESPECT behavioural code of conduct which seeks to improve behavioural standards in football.

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Both captains penned a joint letter to parents and spectators, which was painted into the touchlines at their childhood clubs; Harry Kane’s Ridgeway Rovers, Essex and Steph Houghton’s Boldon Girls, South Shields.

England men’s captain Kane, a father of two, said: “As parents and spectators, it is our job to make sure that children enjoy playing football.

"The pitch should be a place of support and encouragement.

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"Youngsters should never feel pressure or intimidation from the side-lines, so I’m delighted to add my name to the Pledge of Positivity and I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to do the same.”

Lionesses captain Houghton added: “Positivity is essential in football. It’s important to create an environment where everyone enjoys playing.

"There are small things you can do on the touchline – like applauding good play from both teams – that has a big impact on young players.”

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The FA’s Chief Executive, Mark Bullingham said: “Having coached grass roots football for the last five years, I’ve seen first-hand the huge impact that parents on the side-lines can have on players from both a positive and negative point of view.

“It’s no surprise that kids play better in a positive environment and our research has confirmed this impacts 90 per cent of players.

“It’s crucial that we create an atmosphere where players are encouraged rather than abused, for their enjoyment of football as well as their mental health. I urge others to join me in making this pledge and showing their support for kids’ football.”

Kane and Houghton's letter

Sent to spectators at Ridgeway Rovers Football Club and Boldon Girls Football Club

You have the power to influence today’s game.

Always respect the referee and coaches. When mistakes happen, offer your support.

Never tolerate offensive behaviour. Create an environment that is safe, fun and inclusive for everyone.

Growing up and playing here, the support of my family, coaches and team mates helped me fall in love with football.

For me, the encouragement of my mum, dad and coaches led me from this pitch to world cups.

So play your part in making this pitch a place of positivity. Commit to being a positive parent or spectator- sign the FA’s pledge of positivity.

All the best,

Steph Houghton and Harry Kane.

Make your pledge at www.TheFA.com/Pledge

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