Devon primary school bans playground football
Football has been halted in a primary school playground amid concerns that children could be copying the poor behaviour of professional players that they witnessed during the World Cup.
Staff at Plymtree Church of England primary in Devon are worried the cynical fouls and bad behaviour that marred some games in South Africa might have rubbed off on children.
Headteacher Pat Fay said today she had been unimpressed by much of the behaviour she had seen during the World Cup, which culminated in an ugly, foul-dominated final between Holland and Spain.
“When I watched the World Cup, I thought that many of the players did not seem to be good role models for children,” she said. “We are a Church of England school, and we very much value developing a caring attitude among our pupils.
“We are a sporty school and have some very good footballers. Whenever we play, I praise them for doing well – but also for good behaviour.”
Fay said it was “possible” the children’s behaviour while playing football had deteriorated because of what they saw during the World Cup.
All 83 pupils have been stopped from playing football on the very small playground at the school near Cullompton, during break and before and after lessons.
Fay said the children would still be allowed to play under supervision at a nearby field, but the playground was so small that boisterous, unsupervised games were becoming unsafe.
The move prompted a mixed response from parents and children.
Carpenter Dave Bunker, 44, said: “I can see why football has been banned because we have got such a small playground that it can get a bit feisty.
“But when you have got all the boys wanting to play football, it becomes a difficult situation. I feel for those boys because they just love the game.
“The final of the World Cup was just bully tactics. When children see that, they naturally want to copy it. The diving and fouling was abysmal.”
Parent governor Siddy Langley said the World Cup inspired children who would not normally play football to get involved. “It brings out the sportsman in all of us,” she said, “so it possibly got a bit rowdier.”
From the Guardian