After a number of incidents in the youth field, but also escalations in the lower house with verbal and physical violence against referees in the recent past, Upper Austria’s football association is going on the offensive and is presenting a catalog of measures that will be sent to all 376 clubs tomorrow.
“We can’t solve this problem alone, we need society as a whole,” emphasized President Gerhard Götschhofer, who is evaluating possible solutions in a lively exchange with the clubs: “We don’t want to swing the penalty club, incidents have to be assessed individually. You can’t lump everything together, you need a sure instinct. The question is: How did a situation come about?”
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Addendum: “Football is not the culprit, but the victim.” The way out of the misery is rocky and leads to prevention. The following points are on the agenda: Eight instead of five stewards are now to be provided for first and second class competitions. “We are aware that the measures also affect clubs that have not yet had anything. But a uniform regulation is needed,” said Raphael Koch, one of two directors in the association.
In the case of youth games, the home club must provide a matchday manager who acts as a contact person for referees and opponents.
There is a poster with messages that sensitizes the parents of young football players with regard to behavior and role models.
The association and the Austrian health insurance fund also offer workshops on overcoming aggression. “A number of incidents were due to this. We’re not only talking about physical violence, but also about verbal attacks on the referee,” said Raphael Oberndorfinger, director of the association.
The most family-friendly clubs receive awards, and a budget of 300,000 euros is available by 2025 for the purchase of children’s play equipment on club premises in order to create a relaxed atmosphere. It doesn’t all have to be confrontational. “I would like football in Austria to have a ranking that it has in the rest of Central Europe,” said Götschhofer.
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