Monday 21 May 2012

Schools Tournament promotes Fair Play

Kids playing in Premier League competition at Arsenal learn invaluable lessons

Sunderland's Girls Under-13 side won their Fair Play competition at the Emirates

Fair Play was high on the agenda when 40 teams of children took part in the Premier League Schools Tournament at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The nationwide competition began back in August 2011 and featured a record entry of more than 1,000 schools and 8,000 players.

"The kids are really, really well behaved - no red cards or yellows"
- Referee Phil Dowd

Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, representing Fulham, won the Under-11 competition, with Wigan Athletic's representatives St Peter's Catholic High School winning the girls' Under-13 title.

But there were also Fair Play Awards up for grabs at the Barclays Premier League venue, with Houghton Kepier Sports College, representing Sunderland, taking the U13 title and Hakin Community School, representing Swansea, the U11 prize.

The Premier League's Get on with the Game (GOWTG) programme was launched at the beginning of the 2008/09 season and focuses on limiting unacceptable behaviour within the game, especially towards Match Officials.

It is also about building positive working relationships between players, coaches and managers and referees from Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), and this is something that is encouraged at Schools' level too.

Phil Dowd, one of six Premier League referees who officiated at the Schools Tournament at Arsenal, said the behaviour of the children was exemplary all day.

"I've really enjoyed myself," Dowd told premierleague.com. "This is my third or fourth time doing the Schools Tournament. I actually really enjoy it - it's great for the children. I've got children myself, so it's great to be involved.

"It's a lot more relaxed than usual! The kids are really, really well behaved. We've had no red cards, no yellows - so no reports to write tomorrow!"

The aim of the Premier League Schools Tournament, which has been going for seven years, is to increase participation and the numbers of teams and players has grown year on year.

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Key Points

  • Premier League Schools Tournament held at Arsenal with 40 teams competing
  • Fair Play was encouraged among teams, with Premier League referees present
  • Sunderland U13s and Swansea U11s won Fair Play Awards on finals day