FAIR PLAY PAYS
Sports clubs told: Behave or lose cash
GRASSROOTS sports clubs risk losing government funding if they fail to deal with misbehaving parents and players.
From July 1, a statewide code will demand acceptable standards of behaviour to stamp out violence, cheating and “ugly parent syndrome”.
Parents will be encouraged to avoid a “win at all costs” attitude, and support — rather than criticise — coaches and umpires.
The code, drawn up by the state government, will be voluntary, with breaches and penalties up to individual clubs and leagues.
But the government warned sporting associations they “are required to adhere to and enforce” the code to receive funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria.
Western Bulldogs champion and dad Scott West, an under-15s coach at Strathmore Football Club, is among those backing greater respect on and off the field.
“The behaviour of some parents is disgusting,’’ West said.
JUNIOR sports clubs risk losing funding if they don’t deal with misbehaving parents and players as part of a new crackdown.
A statewide “fair play” code that comes into force on July 1 will demand acceptable standards of behaviour to stamp out violence, cheating, and “ugly parent syndrome” on and off the field.
Police have implored hotheaded parents to rein in their conduct — saying officers are too often called to suburban matches because of unruly behaviour and assaults.
The code, drawn up by the state government, is voluntary, with breaches and penalties up to individual clubs and leagues, but grassroots associations have been told they must adhere to and enforce the code if they want funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria.
The new code encourages integrity, respect, fairness, responsibility and safety in community sport.
It urges parents to avoid a “win at all costs” attitude and support rather than criticise coaches, umpires and referees.
“Taking your kid to play the game they love at the weekend is a special thing, and they deserve to play in a safe and friendly environ- ment,” Sports Minister John Eren said.
“We want every sports club, association and league to create a fair and inclusive culture for players, fans and volunteers.’’
Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Chris O’Neill said adults’ poor behaviour had an impact on children.
“Primarily, it frightens them,’’ he said.
“A single incident can tarnish a club’s entire season of work and deter families or new members from joining.
“Our message to all Victorians is to enjoy the match but be respectful in your barracking and be mindful of those around you, including child- ren — remain gracious in victory and defeat.”
Frankston YCW Football Netball Club puts signs out before every game, reminding players and parents that junior sport is meant to be fun.
President Jason McMillan said it was a stern reminder to those on the sidelines that they should lead by example. “It’s just a game,’’ he said. “We take an approach, like most clubs, that if you see something wrong and don’t do anything about it, the problem can grow.’’
He said the new code, with the threat of withdrawn funding, “seems right”.
Frankston YCW Junior Football Club players Archer, Brock, Harry, Kai and Matthew. Picture: TONY GOUGH