Letters to the Editor

Tackling violence in youth football

Dear Sir,

Reading about concerns for our youngsters in general and links of violence within our football community are worrying and sad for everyone affected.

Are we really doing enough to get to the roots of the problem?

I have been unable to shake off an occurrence I learnt about three weeks ago, which took place in a ten-and-under boys’ football game. A young player on the field threatened an opponent who had scored three goals for the winning team and after the game carried out his threat, surprising his winning opponent with a sucker punch to the face.

The coach of the winning team immediately filed a complaint to the Bermuda Football Association.

Fast forward three weeks, and I was surprised to learn that the offending youngster had played the two subsequent weekends and was taking part in the great junior tournament that took place last weekend, no action having been taken over the offence in the interim period.

It does take a village to develop youngsters into good citizens, and the offending ten-year-old has been let down by his village.

A parent, his club and the association that governs football each should have acted immediately.

The situation cried out for an immediate suspension and implementation of a plan to help this youngster to understand the need to change his behaviour.

If we condone bad behaviour such as this, whether on or off the football field, we will not rid the game here of this negative side, nor the consequences to our wider community.