Aggro to turn to silence

BYRON BAY Football Club wants to take action to prevent potentially aggressive behaviour by some parents as part of soccer's wider problems with crowd control.

The club is hoping to introduce a Silent Saturday or Silent Weekend policy next year to stop parents and coaches distracting junior players from enjoying games.

Club president Richard Ray said it was hoped the move would "help the few parents and coaches who feel they must provide constant direction realise that kids can play very well with limited instruction".

Mr Ray said the idea was to "eliminate the ever-increasing questioning of referees by coaches and parents".

Abuse of referees is an issue at all levels of the game, with security often required to escort match officials from A-League venues.

The Western Sydney Wanderers, despite a great debut season, have had problems with crowd violence and there is sometimes trouble when cross-town rivals Victory and Heart clash in Melbourne.

Byron Bay FC's Silent Sat- urday is likely to be a talking point at the club's 50th anniversary dinner on Saturday.

"This takes the pressure off the players and gives them an opportunity for a more positive environment," Mr Ray said.

Initially the concept will be adopted for the juniors from Grade 6 to Grade 16, but the principle should equally apply to the seniors.

The idea needs to be approved by the club's executive committee "but to be successful it must be whole- heartedly embraced by the coaches and managers".

"Coaches and parents will always see more than players do, so it requires patience and self-discipline not to say what you think they should be doing," Mr Ray said.

"We expect coaches and parents to let our kids explore their potential by making their own choices on the field instead of being told what to do throughout a game. We want our players to be free to set their own level of competition rather than play to our expectations."

The club will take the initiative to Football Far North Coast and hope it will be embraced by the association.

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