PARENTS and coaches will fall silent during junior football matches in the district this weekend. 

Northumberland FA is trialling Silent Weekend, which prevents verbal input from adults watching from the touchline. 

Silent weekend will be rolled out in age group competitions for 6-9 year olds, with participating organisations including the Tynedale Mini Soccer League. 

Northumberland FA said the experiment has followed a youth survey, during which 60 per cent of 6-9 year olds said they had witnessed poor behaviour from coaches or spectators at football matches.

Of those surveyed, 62 per cent said this had included shouting, while 37 percent had even witnessed swearing, according to the FA. 

A Northumberland FA spokesman said children told them that negative sounds from the sidelines had left them feeling sad, scared, and upset. 

He added: "A silent weekend involves minimal verbal contact from coaches and spectators.

"It aims to create a fun, safe and developmental experience for all children in youth football.

"It allows them to make their own decisions and lets them play the game with freedom, without pressure or over-emphasis on winning at all costs.

"Of course we still want to celebrate our young players’ achievements, so applause for goals and examples of good play are definitely welcome."

Representatives from participating leagues and the Northumberland FA will be on hand at the venues involved, and will be keen to speak to parents and coaches about the experiment, to take their feedback on board. 

While they won't be allowed to speak directly to players during the game, coaches can brief their players before kick off, and at half time. They can make notes while the match is in progress, and use substitutes to pass on tactical instructions during stoppages in play. 

More information and full guidelines for parents and coaches can be found on the Northumberland FA website via the link below.