Whilst football has continued to prosper in 2016 in its popularity and participation numbers across the St George district, we have unfortunately experienced a less than positive environment regarding fair play, positive football and respect.

At a recent meeting of all St George Football Association (SGFA) Club delegates, there was united concern and condemnation of the conduct of many players, coaches, officials and parents both on and off the field this season.

Across all ages we have seen increased reporting of matters that do not meet the standards all clubs, coaches, administrators, players, parents and supporters should be seeking. Even more worrying is the fact these incidents are not limited to senior football but are prevalent in junior non-competition football. If you are not aware so far this season we have seen:

  • crowd / spectator violence;
  • verbal abuse by spectators towards players;
  • fighting between players, coaches and spectators – in one incident with a player as young as 13;
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language by players and coaches towards match officials;
  • verbal abuse and swearing by players towards other players.

You are all reminded that SGFA has a zero tolerance policy against this conduct and behaviour

It is distressing these actions do not appear isolated and we have noted a marked increase since 2015, particularly in the case of verbal abuse to referees. The onus and responsibility for the actions lies squarely in the hands of club officials, the coaching staff and parents. The behaviour that players and supporters exhibit against match officials and other players is often taken directly from the actions and behaviours of coaches.

All club officials, coaches, players and parents are reminded that they must comply with the FNSW Grievance & Disciplinary Regulations 2016, the FFA National Code of Conduct, FFA Member Protection policy and the FNSW Social Media Policy and breaches of these may result in disciplinary action being taken against them.

If you are not aware of these policies, we strongly encourage you to ensure that all players, coaches, officials and parents are made aware of them. The policies can be found here.

In the coming weeks, SGFA will be providing to all Clubs signage to be placed at all grounds on match days with a simple message to RESPECT the officials and to PLAY BY THE RULES.

Please remember…

  1. These are kids.
  2. This is a game.
  3. The coaches are volunteers.
  4. The referees are human.
  5. This is not the World Cup.

As a game we seek your support, leadership and direction to ensure we offer a safe and friendly environment – while maintaining a competitive approach – with an underlying respect for match officials, coaches and players alike.

Let’s all keep the Beautiful game Beautiful!

SGFA Board & Management