FAIR PLAY PAYS

Sports clubs told: Behave or lose cash

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - PETER ROLFE AND WES HOSK­ING

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

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