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Junior football 'violent'
A BBC Radio 5 Live investigation
A BBC Radio 5 Live investigation into junior football has found a game blighted by violence.

The results have led to parents withdrawing their children from teams and a shortage of grassroots referees.

"We see spitting, swearing, butting, kicking and assaults by parents all the time", Geoff Swinnerton, president of Liverpool FA told Sport on Five.

Aggressive and abusive parents are cited as the main culprits.

Another interviewee, who ran a junior league which collapsed through lack of interest, has seen parents walk across a pitch to confront each other with weapons.

A discussion into the issues was aired on Monday on Sport on Five where Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's Director of Football Development joined parents, coaches and referees who have become frustrated with the game.

Brooking said: "It is a big concern and it's something we have to link in with the new coaching strategy. We've got to embarrass the parents.

"I think some of the parents haven't got any social responsibility full stop, irrespective of whether it's football or anything.

"We've got to make sure that those sorts of parents aren't part of football.

"We've got to support coaches to go up to parents and ask them to take their kids away, if they carry on shouting.

If enough clubs say, 'we don't want you', then gradually the message will get there because kids just want to play."

Sport on Five has also discovered that, despite the introduction of a wide range of child protection measures in recent years, the FA is failing to oust convicted criminals from junior football clubs.

The FA has a programme called Soccer Parent which aims to raise standards of behaviour and knowledge.


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