LaLiga's Leganés plead with pushy parents with moving letter: "Mum, Dad, what are you doing?"
Leganés have sought to calm down parents' abusive touchline behaviour with an emotional letter written by an imaginary youth footballer.
LaLiga Santander club CD Leganés have caused a social-media splash with a letter written from the point of view of an imaginary youth footballer, entitled: "Mum, Dad, what are you doing?"
Letter looks to put stop to parents' abusive touchline antics
The letter, which is displayed by the club at the entrance to the pitches used by its academy teams, seeks to stamp out a growing trend in the youth game: pushy parents' abusive touchline behaviour towards players, coaches, match officials and fellow spectators as they watch their aspiring futbolista in action.
It particularly aims to underline the negative effects that this can have on their own child - even causing the youngster to want to walk away from football.
Leganés letter to the parents: "Mum, Dad, what are you doing?"
"I don't know how to say this to you. I'm sure you think you're doing it for my own good, but I can't help feeling awkward, upset, unhappy.
"You gave me a ball when I had barely learned to walk. I hadn't started going to school yet when you signed me up for the team. I like training during the week, having a laugh with my team-mates and then playing on the Sunday like the stars do. But when you come to the games... I don't know. It's not like it was before.
"You don't give me a high-five anymore when it's over, or take me to get a bite to eat. You take your place in the stands thinking that everyone is your enemy: you insult the referees, the coaches, the players, other parents... Why did you change?
"You don't seem to be having much fun, and I don't understand it. You tell me again and again that I'm the best, that no-one compares to me, that anyone who tells me any different is wrong, and that winning's all that matters. That coach you called 'inept': that's my friend, someone who taught me to enjoy playing the game. The lad who came on for me the other day, remember him? Yeah, the one you spent the whole afternoon criticising because he "isn't fit to lace my boots". I go to school with that lad. When I saw him the next Monday, I felt ashamed.
"I don't want to disappoint you. Sometimes I think that I'm not good enough, that I won't make it as a professional and earn millions like you want me to. You stress me out. I've even thought about giving up playing. But I like football so much! Please, don't make me ask you not to come and watch me."
Leganés youth chief: "Behaviour has improved"
Leganés head of youth development Jorge Broto explained to Diario AS that the initiative has served to instil greater calm on the sidelines: "For some parents, it [the impact of reading the letter] lasts only 10 minutes. For others, the whole game. Either way, we've noticed that parents are more relaxed.
"Barring isolated cases, we've never had major problems; but behaviour has definitely improved since we put the letter up."
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