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The Welsh FA launched a campaign aimed at improving adult behaviour on the touchline at junior and grass roots football matches throughout Wales - this is a campaign that Aberdare Town Football Club fully endorses. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of children are withdrawing from football because of the untoward behaviour of others; from over- zealous spectators to ultra- competitive coaches. Via the education and promotion of the 'Behind the Line' campaign, the Football Association of Wales' Safeguarding department aims to get everyone onside to ensure football is enjoyable for all of those involved. 'Behind the Line' is the FAW's principal safeguarding campaign which focuses on safeguarding children and young people by eliminating the negative factors which hinder their enjoyment of the game. The campaign aims to tackle both on and off the pitch behaviour by promoting best practice through educating players, coaches and spectators. 'Behind the Line, Behind the Team' is a tailored programme which concentrates on improving the conduct of spectators on the touchline. By addressing the often inappropriate behaviour of overzealous supporters who may overstep the line with constant criticism and intimidation of players and officials, the campaign will educate and remind individuals of their responsibility to create a fun, safe and positive environment for children to play football in. As a result, clubs are encouraged to utilise the 'Behind the Line, Behind the Team' barriers to create a dedicated supporter zone, and serve as a reminder not to overstep the boundaries, both physically and psychologically. The safeguarding DVD filmed in the summer with National Team Manager Chris Coleman highlights the practical effects of the barriers whilst publicising the overarching importance of encouraging children and allowing them to have fun within the sport rather than placing them under too much pressure. Chris Coleman was delighted to play a part in the launch of the campaign, saying; “I know how important it is for children to be encouraged to play football, to feel free to express themselves and learn from mistakes without negative pressures from the side-lines”.
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