Northumberland FA report suggests misconduct is rising, particularly in grassroots youth football

Watch Kris Jepson's report here.

The Northumberland FA has published a report which has found misconduct in grassroots football is on the rise, particularly in youth football matches.

The report suggest there have already been 95 misconduct charges heard, with 93 upheld this season. The figure for the whole of last season was 168 charges.

It found 15 per cent of those charges involved abusive language aggravated by a protected characteristic and that 20 per cent of all charges related to abuse towards refereeing officials.

Andrew Rose-Cook, CEO of Northumberland FA, told ITV News Tyne Tees: "Unfortunately 37 per cent of the cases that we see are in youth football. That should be a safe environment for people to come and play in and, unfortunately at times, it’s not. If you’re a young referee out there who is a lot of the time a child, to go there and referee a game or official a game can be really intimidating at times, so we need to counteract that, both in a proactive and reactive way."

Blyth Town FC runs football teams for both children and adults. The club was recently recognised by the Northumberland FA as its Safeguarding Club of the Year, after employing the FA's "100 per cent positive scheme".

Through this programme, clubs promote good conduct and behaviour from the players, coaches and parents on the sidelines.

Chair of Blyth Town FC, Sandra Orr, said: "If you get an aggressive parent or an aggressive coach it does flow onto the pitch. If somebody is disrespectful to the referee and it’s a parent of someone, that child will think the referee is doing something wrong and so it’s really, really important that you lead by example."