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Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 15:48 UK

League puts focus on young fans

Northampton Town players sign an 'Enjoy The Match' pledge board
Northampton boss Stuart Gray and his players are backing the campaign

The Football League has launched a new initiative to encourage more families to attend matches at their local club.

The Enjoy the Match campaign aims to ensure children can savour games in a family-friendly environment.

It will focus on tackling fans who use abusive language and aggressive behaviour in family areas of stadia.

Participating clubs will proactively steward family areas and display prominent signage discouraging anti-social behaviour.

Additionally, clubs will play a public address announcement, voiced by local children, to encourage positive support before each match.

Club managers and playing staff will be underlining their support by signing a pledge board that will be displayed in the family area of the ground.

Supporters are being encouraged to show their support for the campaign by signing the online pledge at

The Football League is supporting the campaign with a range of club guidance and resources, match-day programme advertisements, video clips and a promotional campaign.

Enjoy the Match has been introduced following research carried out at all 72 League grounds last season.

It revealed that swearing formed a key negative impression on families at 46% of the 144 games assessed.

Launching the campaign, Football League Chairman Lord Mawhinney said: "Young supporters will be the lifeblood of our clubs in years to come.

"It is therefore vitally important that we encourage more parents to bring their children into our grounds by creating a vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere at all matches."

see also
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