Players shaking ref's hand

Respect and Reward 23-24

Northumberland FA's Respect & Reward scheme returns for another season

Sponsored by: Collingwood Insurance

 Northumberland FA’s Respect & Reward scheme has returned for 2023/24 season. The scheme allows referees to give Respect Marks to the players, coaches, and spectators, of the teams they officiate. These marks allow Northumberland FA to monitor behaviour across grassroots football and, give reward and recognition to the teams that make grassroots football an positive and enjoyable experience for all.



Following a trial across the 2021/22 NFA County Cups, Northumberland FA introduced the Respect & Reward Scheme across all football in the County in 2022/23. 102 referees took part, scoring 1,091 different teams, across 874 matches. Respect Marks given by match officials for the behaviour and conduct of a Team’s players, coaches, and spectators were recorded allowing Northumberland FA to recognise and reward those who make football a positive environment. £1,150 worth of Kitlocker Vouchers were given to the highest scoring teams, as well as another £1,000 worth of Kitlocker Vouchers given to Referees who had participated in the scheme.


How does Respect & Reward Work?

All Referees registered to Northumberland FA can complete an online scoring form after a game they have officiated in. They will separately score both the home and away team’s players, coaches, and spectators out of 10, based on the respect shown towards opponents and officials, against a scoring matrix (see below). Scores are collated by Northumberland FA. Teams who have scored top marks every month will be included in Social Media posts & NFA Newsletters giving recognition. In 23/24 the teams with the highest average Respect Mark scores after November, February, and May will receive Rewards from a £2,000 prize pot.


Rewards for Referees

Every time a match official completes the online form for a game they have officiated in, they will receive an entry into a prize draw for new kit and equipment. In addition, the officials who complete the most matches, where they provide Respect Marks, will also receive rewards. There is £1,000 of prizes to be won!


Why does the scheme exist?

This scheme allows Northumberland FA to recognise and reward teams who consistently show high levels of respect towards match officials and support making football a positive environment for all. Negative incidents are sparce in comparison to the number of games played every week, but they take up a huge amount of resource and energy to deal with. This unfortunately leaves little space for recognising the majority who play the game the right way. Through this scheme, every month we will publicly recognise the best teams, as well as reward the teams with the highest average Respect Marks with £2,000 of prizes to be won! The scheme also provides referees to provide a much wider picture of behaviour across grassroots football, beyond just cautions and red cards. This means when behaviour is positive and they have enjoyed the game, Referees have an opportunity to feed this back to Northumberland FA.

Although this scheme is to recognise, reward, and promote positive behaviour in grassroots football, marks provided by match officials will also allow us to see teams who are consistently not showing respect to intervene earlier, no longer relying on a serious discipline case to bring the team to our attention.

Referee coverage across affiliated league games is a big issue facing the game across the country, and Northumberland is no different. Team numbers in Northumberland FA’s region increased by 498 teams from 2015/16 - 2022/23, whereas over the same period referee numbers (Level 7 and above) increased by 110. So, a potential 249 extra games played per week compared to in 2016/17, with 110 additional referees to cover all these games. Northumberland FA trained more new referees in 2022/23 than ever before, beating 21/22’s previous figure, as we try and help strengthen the referee workforce which is fundamental to the continued growth of the game, supporting people of all ages live active lifestyles through football. Its therefore vital that all involved in grassroots football help make the beautiful game just that, by creating an environment and atmosphere that players, referees, and spectators, will enjoy and want to continue their involvement season after season. And, it is only right we reward those who set the example of creating positive environments.


Respect Mark Scoring:


Referee Respect Mark Scoring guide:




Welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere created by all throughout the match-day from arrival to leaving. All decisions accepted. All players, coaches, and spectators treat officials and opponents with respect throughout. This team deserves rewarding for their positive conduct in grassroots football.


All decisions accepted. All players, coaches, and spectators treat officials and opponents with respect throughout. Looking forward to refereeing this team again.


1-2 players challenged 1-2 decisions, but game was enjoyable to referee. Players, coaches, and spectators treat officials and opponents with respect throughout.


Few decisions are challenged (10%+) by a minority of players/spectators. Game was enjoyable to referee and mostly played in the correct sporting spirit.


Frequent challenge of decisions (25%+). Most decisions accepted. Most the players play the game in the correct sporting spirit.


Majority of decisions challenged (50%+). Have to speak to 2 or more players as a warning.


Most decisions challenged (75%+). Have to speak to the captain to manage players.


All decisions are challenged. 1-2 cautions for dissent/unsporting behaviour.


Aggressive attitudes adopted by majority towards officials and opponents. 1 red card shown for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or action(s), and/or 3-4 cautions for dissent/unsporting behaviour


Aggressive and threatening attitudes adopted by majority throughout match day towards officials and opponents. 2 or more red cards shown for using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or action(s), and/or 5 or more cautions for dissent/unsporting behaviour