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Foul mouthed footballers told to bench bad language in Oak Hill Park in East Barnet
Foul mouthed footballers are being asked to bench their bad language and stop offending users of a popular family park.
The East Barnet Residents’ Association is leading a fight back against what they say are regular tirades of abuse emanating from the football pitches in Oak Hill Park at weekends.
Up to eight teams use the 11-a-side pitches in Church Hill Road for league games on a weekly basis, but members of the residents’ association and the Friends of Oak Hill Park say the “industrial language” displayed leaves a bad taste with other park users.
George Irons, vice chairman of the East Barnet Residents’ Association and member of the Friends of Oak Hill Park, said: “You regularly hear industrial language and it offends quite a number of other people using the park.
“We want the clubs to be more responsible. It is often one or two people who can’t control their tongue and we just want them to tone it down.
“I have played sports in my time and I know it gets heated. Obviously these are young lads wanting to let off steam but they don’t need to use expletives to the point where it is every other word. It is a bit much to hear on a Sunday morning.”
Mr Irons said he would be speaking to the council on behalf of the residents’ association and Friends group about the recent complaints.
He added: "We want the teams to take responsibility and make their players aware. The referees can deal with it on the pitch too and I'd like to see them do so more often."
The residents’ association has previously contacted Barnet Council’s parks department about the issue, which has in turn written to the teams concerned.
A council spokesperson said that, after writing to the clubs at the start of the season in about September, the authority has not received any further complaints about bad language.
But some clubs are already dealing with the issue themselves.
Yiannis Mavroudis manages Olympiacos Youth FC, which runs a series of teams for six to 18 year olds who train at Oak Hill Park.
The club used to play its matches at Oak Hill Park before recently moving to Enfield Playing Fields.
Mr Mavroudis admits that foul language can be a problem for many Sunday league sides both on the pitch and from the touchline, but he believes it is a problem worth tackling.
He said: “We’re very strict with it. Often the parents can be worse than the players and we deal with it by talking to the parents and the players and reminding them it is only a game.
“It can destroy a match – it stops the enjoyment of the game and creates a very bad atmosphere so we don’t accept it.
“We hold meetings with the players and their parents if it is an issue and we receive support from the FA in the form of videos and other materials providing education on the impact bad language can have.”
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