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Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to football's unsung heroes from across the country when he presented the Football Association's [FA] Respect and Fair Play Awards at the FA Cup Final.
Before Manchester City played Stoke City in the Cup Final at Wembley, the Prime Minister joined other guests of the FA in honouring the leagues, clubs and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to promoting respect, fair play, driving up standards of behaviour and supporting referees at all levels of the game.
He said: "It's important that we recognise, whether we are in politics or football, the role models who do so much great work on and off the pitch. It is absolutely right for the FA to give such priority to their Respect and Fair Play Awards as it sends out a clear message across all levels of the game about the power football has to transform communities and peoples' lives."
The FA's Respect Manager Dermot Collins said the Respect and Fair Play Awards recognised those people in football who are supporting the FA's Respect campaign and making great strides in improving behaviour, both on and off the field, across the country.
He said: "I'm delighted that the Football Association used the occasion of the FA Cup Final to recognise and reward those people from all levels of the game that are really making a difference in standing up for all the good things in the game."
This year's FA Respect and Fair Play Awards saw winners across 13 categories [see below], including the Bobby Moore Individual Award, receiving an Award and a cash prize to be used for the benefit of football.
The Women's Football Pyramid Award went to the East Midlands Regional Women's Football League who have worked hard to establish high standards. A 'Fair Play' monitoring scheme results in a fine for any team achieving less than a mark of five but what has really improved the quality of games has been a commitment to develop and recognise the contribution of referees. This has resulted in the number of matches being covered by registered higher level referees growing from 64% to 98%.
Sheffield FC Ladies won the Women's Pyramid Club Award for a commitment to respect that pervades the administration, management and coaching ethos of the club and was demonstrated this year by its handling of some challenging behaviour issues. Sheffield FC Ladies are also a Chartered Standard Community Club.
"We are extremely proud to have won the FA Respect and Fair Play Award in the Women's Footbally Pyramid category," said Carol West, the Chairperson of the East Midlands League. "The award recognises and rewards the standard of behaviour across our clubs and players but also acknowledges the hugh amount of work that has gone in to the EMWFL proactively recruiting, supporting and retaining match officials in our first season of league-wide referee appointments.
"The award highlights our commitment to ensuring football is played in a safe and enjoyable environment for all."
Photo - FA Respect Manager Dermot Collins, League Development Officer Karen Falconer and Carol West, East Midlands League Chairperson with the award.
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