Every May, BX Brussels organises tournaments for youngsters in the categories U6 to U13. The tournament for categories U12 and U13 on Sunday 8 May was very special. Last season BX launched a Code of Conduct for players and parents in order to promote a positive attitude both on the pitch and in the stands and, as a sports and social organisation, it uses its tournaments to innovate and inspire. According to Seppe De Bruyn of BX Brussels: “We have decided to use the tournament to champion the spirit of sport, as we see that, even in the younger categories, football sometimes has its rougher side.”
Which is why last Sunday BX Brussels shone the spotlight on fair play, not only for players but also for coaches, referees and supporters through the application of some subtle adaptations. In so doing they sought inspiration from rugby – “a tough game played by gentlemen”. And the tournament was played to the following rules:
- Everyone can hear the referee.
- Only the captain may address the referee.
- The winning side gives three cheers for the losing side.
- Supporting means cheering, not jeering.
- Each team is accompanied by a steward responsible for ensuring a positive atmosphere.
In order to apply these rules on the pitch, BX Brussels has teamed up with the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA). Nathan Verboomen, member of the committee of referees at the RBFA, gave a training session to the referees of BX Brussels, paying special attention to positive communication. On the day itself Verboomen, together with rugby-coach Sam Vandenboer, gave the referees ongoing feedback to enable them to grow into their roles as the tournament progressed. And the cherry on the cake: not only the title of champion and a prize for the most sportsman-like team but also an award for the most sportsman-like supporters.
And these rules have borne fruit. “It’s tremendous: we notice that the teams are more friendly and form a cohesive group, wanting to experience football together in a positive, glorious way,” says Seppe of BX. Referee Franck Aurélien Tanko goes further: “Today’s rules can have an enormous impact on football in general. Because football must always live up to its reputation as ‘the beautiful sport’.”
Click here to see the results: LINK VIDEO
BX Brussels: Seppe De Bruyn (email@example.com - 0474/717648)
BX Brussels: Liesbeth Wyns (firstname.lastname@example.org - 0474/900310)
RBFA: Nathan Verboomen (email@example.com - 0484/695295)
A Football Tournament with a Twist of Rugby