The Football Association of the Czech Republic (FAČR) has launched a new strategy – called Chance for Football – aimed at combating negative elements and influences in the game.
In addition, a new code of conduct for referees has been introduced which highlights the rules that match officials should adhere to, paving the way for raised refereeing standards in the Czech Republic.
Demanding a zero-tolerance stance to all harmful influences in football, the long-term Chance for Football strategy is targeting everyone involved in the game – fans, players of all ages, coaches and officials – and is the start of a process to nurture football's image in the Czech Republic.
"We cannot just sit back and hope the situation will improve without taking any action," said FAČR president Miroslav Pelta at the launch in Prague. "We have to explore every possibility to raise football to the best international standards, and improve public trust in our sport."
The new code of conduct for referees was also unveiled in the Czech capital. "The code clearly outlines the rules that all referees must follow," said Dagmar Damková, chair of the FAČR referees' committee. "It will be signed by all referees taking part in professional leagues. We also see the new strategy as the first step towards the gradual semi-professionalisation of Czech football referees. I think it is the right way forward.
"There are professional players in our professional leagues who train on a daily basis," she added. "Whenever they play a game, there are four referees that are not professionals, and in their lives they cannot concentrate just on football. They don't have enough time for their development, training and preparation."
The referees working plan will include cooperation with professional fitness coaches and psychologists, physical training and other activities geared at reinforcing match officials' professional development.
Experienced European referee Howard Webb, who has officiated in both FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League finals, attended the presentation in Prague and backed the initiative. "This investment will be really useful in terms of better equipping the referees to face the challenges they are going to meet," he said. "Football is getting more intensive and quicker, there is more scrutiny, and match officials need to be able to meet these increasing demands."
The new code of conduct was signed symbolically by Czech international referee Pavel Královec.
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