Code of Conduct

What is a Code of Conduct and why should my club have one?

A Code of Conduct is integral to any sporting club as it outlines the expected behaviour of administrators, committees, coaches and officials, players, parents, and spectators. Codes of Conduct can be very broad; from on-field incidents, sideline abuse and mismanagement, to inappropriate social media posts, child safety, unfair treatment, poor sportsmanship and more.

A good Code of Conduct will highlight what your club sees as important to uphold within the community by outlining the desired behaviours of your members, spectators, and parents. In addition to outlining desired behaviours, Codes of Conduct should also outline potential consequences for breaches. Having a Code of Conduct provides a clear framework for the committee to use, should any conduct issues as they arise.

“Codes of Conduct provide clear behavioural guidelines and promote a quality environment in which the game and participants can flourish. Codes of Conduct need to be monitored by the committee and an appropriate procedure established to deal with any breaches of the Code.” – AFL Community Club.

How do I ensure my members adhere to our club’s Code of Conduct?

Adoption and adherence of a Code of Conduct can be difficult sometimes. By implementing the below procedures, your club will make a great start at ensuring your members follow the Code of Conduct:

  • Have players sign your club’s Code of Conduct when completing their annual registration,
  • Display your Code of Conduct around the club rooms, on the club’s social media/websites, and in club newsletters as a reminder,
  • Provide a copy of the Code of Conduct during inductions and meetings with new committee members, officials, and coaches,
  • In junior sports, ensure parents and/or guardians receive a copy of the Code of Conduct,
  • Signage at the entrance to grounds/facilities highlighting that by entering you are agreeing to abide by the club’s Code of Conduct,

Child Safe Standards

According to Victorian State Government, sporting clubs are a ‘Category 2’ organisation and therefore legally must abide by the Victorian Child Safe Standards.  Enforcing these 7 Standards (and 3 overarching principles) means that your organisation is actively working to minimise child-related harm.

Child Safe Standard 3 involves ensuring your Code of Conduct outlines your club’s clear expectation of appropriate behaviour around children. The Commission for Children and Young People states that having a Code of Conduct which enforces child safety is one of the best ways to keep children safe within organisations.  

For more information regarding the Victorian Child Safe Standards, please click here.

Fair Play Code

The Fair Play Code builds upon the Victorian Government’s 2010 Victorian Code of Conduct for Community Sport, which aimed to encourage appropriate standards of behaviour to enable every Victorian to be involved in a sporting environment that is safe, welcoming and inclusive.

Effective July 1 2018, the Victorian Government’s Fair Play Code sets out to not only define desirable behaviour within community sport and recreation, but to highlight the responsibilities of all involved in community sport. The Fair Play Code is a code which aims to send a loud and clear message – that bad behaviour, violence, cheating and intimidation has no place in sport and recreation in Victoria. The Fair Play Code ensures that individuals, clubs, leagues and associations know what to do if they encounter bad behaviour both on and off the sporting field.

The Fair Play Code is made up of two parts, the first being the Code’s five core values:

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Safety

In addition to these values, the Fair Play Code includes a diagram which outlines responsibilities, breaches and where to seek further information for everyone within the sport and recreation community.

You can read more about the Fair Play Code here.

What if my club wants to create our own Code of Conduct or we want to refresh our current one?

Every club is held to a Code of Conduct, whether your club has its own Code, or falls under the sport’s State Body’s Code. A good starting point in creating your own Code of Conduct is to visit your State or National body’s website and find their Code, which can then be adapted to reflect your club and its values.

Your club can also adapt a Code of Conduct template, one of which can be found here:

Want to see more policy templates? Visit Play by the Rules

Need help? Feel free to contact Sports Focus if you have any questions or need assistance. Contact us here…

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