I think people are confusing this controversy with other issues. As you say, the FA has explicitly made an exception for the poppy for years because they consider it to be a noble cause. They've got in hot water with other authorities for doing so. And players have also got in trouble with the media when they've chose not to wear a poppy. I think it's important to remember all of this when discussing BLM.Interesting, especially considering The FA were fighting FIFA over England players wearing the poppy a couple of years ago... I've seen players and match officials at every level of the game wear a poppy without any complaints!
Money raised from selling poppies (and match-worn football shirts with the poppy on) goes to the British Legion, which supports veterans. The existence of those veterans, whether the battles they fought in were justified and ergo, if it is justified to run an annual, nationwide campaign that comes with social pressure to participate, in order to raise money to support veterans who some may consider to have fought in unjust wars is definitely a political question.A poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those killed in conflict. It's origins are linked more into Christian belief and the church than anything else. It certainly isn't anything to to with politics.
The FA have in the past been accused of being insensitive to societal matters. They have been accused of being unclear in their communications. In sending you that email, and I'd like you to post it on here, because I haven't received any such communication from The FA (nor heard of anyone else receiving one), they have responded sensitively and provided clear guidance. Your part is to add this into your pre-match routine. You approach the managers or secretaries or both, of both teams and explain, without any tone of judgement, that if any of their players want to take a knee, then you will be indicating it by a trial kick off whistle followed by a second whistle a few seconds later. You also make it clear that you won't tolerate any dissent on the matter at the start of the game by players choosing not to participate.
Thank you, but it doesn't indicate if this is from The FA or a County FA. It also isn't addressed to referees. Nevertheless, the recommendation to discuss with club officials before the game is clear.Here's the one I got Brian ...
To: League Secretaries
CC: Council, Staff
Please see the following for your information.
Black Lives Matter
Official line regarding the BLM movement at grassroots level
The FA as an organisation is supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, to the extent there are any requests for players to take the knee or display the Black Lives Matter slogan as part of their clothing at grassroots level, the current view is that any such requests should be dealt with locally by the relevant County FA/Leagues as they deem appropriate and based on any relevant considerations.
In practice we would expect referees to implement the following approach:
- Should any players, technical staff or match officials wish to demonstrate their support by taking a knee for a short period at the beginning of the game, the match referee will ensure the request is accommodated.
- Club officials from both teams and match officials should discuss pre-match to ensure the referee can pause the game momentarily at kick off.
I think the key piece here is that this should be discussed BEFORE the match with opposition and referee so that the referee can pause the game to allow this to happen, so it may be useful to stress this to your teams.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me
Thank you, but it doesn't indicate if this is from The FA or a County FA. It also isn't addressed to referees. Nevertheless, the recommendation to discuss with club officials before the game is clear.
Perhaps the OP could provide his copy and explain how he received it.
I think people are confusing this controversy with other issues. As you say, the FA has explicitly made an exception for the poppy for years because they consider it to be a noble cause. They've got in hot water with other authorities for doing so. And players have also got in trouble with the media when they've chose not to wear a poppy. I think it's important to remember all of this when discussing BLM.
It seems strange to me that there's a lot of crossover between people who think it's "obviously" right that players and referees should wear a poppy and those that think "politics should be kept out of football". A poppy is a political symbol and taking a knee is a political gesture. I'm fine with people who think both should be encouraged and I'm still just about fine with people who think both should be disallowed. People picking and choosing what causes should be "allowed" based on their own criteria for what is and isn't valid is something that sits a lot less well with me.
I'm not sure I agree with your initial premise here. If you blow your whistle and one player wants to kick off and another player wants to take a knee for 5 seconds, you're much better off stopping at least one of them!As referees we can't stop players from doing things. We can only sanction / report things which we think are not within competition rules or LOTG. If comp rules have already allowed this then no reason for us to do anything. Now if any referee doesn't like this (for whatever reason) they have the choice of not accepting appointments from that competition.
Personally I am more than happy to follow league rules regarding this matter (even though I think there is a political side to it and I don't like to mix politics with sports) so long as they leave it as a personal choice.
If the player has an obvious reason to expect that everyone else would also immediately sit on the ground when I blow my whistle then yes, I would probably go out of my way to make sure we're all expecting the same thing before blowing.Your are taking this out of context. In your context if a player just wants to sit on the ground what do you do. Do you'd stop them? It's their choice.
In the OP context with no league directives if I don't deem it offensive (which I don't) , I'd ask the other team, if they agree with with it then we are all good. Not too dissimilar to one minute silence requested by one side. You try to manage it.
Fair enough. The point is once I have blown the whistle (or say mid game) if a player or the whole team decides to sit (or kneel) without my prior knowledge then I am unlikely to stop the game, we may disagree on that. But I think we both agree on if we know about it beforehand, we will manage it.If the player has an obvious reason to expect that everyone else would also immediately sit on the ground when I blow my whistle then yes, I would probably go out of my way to make sure we're all expecting the same thing before blowing.
I agree much more with your second paragraph here - be aware of it being a possibility and whatever you decide to do (kneel or don't kneel), manage it. Your previous post read to me as if you were planning to just blow your whistle and let everyone do different things - apologies if that's me misreading it!