The handshake will reiterate the importance of good behaviour on the field of play and is indicative of the Premier League and its Clubs desire to show the game in the best possible light, and this deed is being backed up by action.
This season will see the most comprehensive programme of education, community and social inclusion initiatives in football’s history as part of an effort to establish a season of goodwill in top-flight football and show the positive contribution football makes to society.
The focus of the Premier League’s ‘image of the game’ programme will be on developing new community schemes, raising awareness of the £70 million investment the Premier League and its Clubs make in their communities each year, as well as considering other key issues including player’s on-field behaviour, lifestyle training for the aspiring stars of the future and fan relations.
Among the new community projects to be launched this season are:
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· A wide range of new Club based initiatives focused at using the motivational power of football to tackle social exclusion, raise educational standards and promote community involvement.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· Developing a range of Club based community programmes focusing on crime reduction and engaging young offenders.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· A partnership with the Department of Health focused at using the power of football to tackle obesity amongst young people.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· Leading stars being signed up for an Ambassador Scheme promoting the work of the Football Foundation, the UK’s largest sports charity.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· A new education programme for young players coming through Club Academies designed to meet the demands of becoming a professional footballer as well as ensuring they receive an education.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· A new educational qualification, First for Sport, designed by the Premier League and aimed at 14-16 year olds who may not otherwise be motivated to learn.
ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â· Improve communication between players, managers and referees regarding understanding of the laws of the game and the importance of good on-field behaviour.
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive, said: “This season we are determined to show the positive side of football both on and off the field and at every level we are involved in.
“The Premier League will be looking at all aspects of our work and will explore ways in which football can address some of the problems that the game has faced.
“I think that people within the game recognise that football and footballers have an important role to play as positive role models for society and we are committed to building and developing our work in this area.
“The FA Premier League and its Clubs have led the way in creating successful education, community and social inclusion programmes that are designed to meet the needs of the local communities.
“Through initiatives like Playing for Success, which provides after school support for underachieving pupils in classrooms based at football grounds, we have already made an important difference to thousands of young people’s lives by engaging them in fun and innovative education projects and we look forward to working with Government on a series of new crime and health initiatives both this year and in the future.
“We are committed to the development of grass-roots football in this country and our support of the Football Foundation, which has played a major role in improving football facilities for people of all ages and abilities, and our Club based coaching programmes are playing an important role in creating a more physically active nation.”
Barclays Premiership games will be kicking off with a new look for the 2004/05 season with players lining up for a ‘fair play’ handshake before every game accompanied by a specially commissioned Premier League anthem.