There are some common issues that arise and which MPIOs need to be aware of:
Insufficient Game Time
This is not a child protection issue and can be resolved through mediation. It is a decision for the coach of a team to determine how much game time players receive however some clubs do have policies relating to amateur football game time. Contact your local club to enquire whether they have a game time policy.
Football is a team sport and time on the bench is an accepted part of being in a football team. The strategies used by coaches are many and varied in their efforts to try and provide players with fair game time but equal time is not always possible particularly where the games are closely contested and where player fitness, endurance, ability and team cohesion are factors in player selection, rotation and positioning.
Non-selection in team or squad
This is not a child protection issue. The selection of players is a decision for selectors. Players are generally selected into teams and squads based on skill, strength, stamina, physique, fitness, sportsmanship, commitment and a willingness and ability to learn and improve. A good behaviour record both on and off the field, is also beneficial.
Our team is not winning – my child is not scoring goals
It is interesting to note that a study on children’s sport found that the top 3 reasons children play amateur sport are: To make friends; To have fun; and To play the game.
Winning is not always a priority for children and just playing with their friends, having fun and kicking the ball is often what they base their good experience on. Parents should support their children and encourage good sportsmanship no matter the outcome of the game – win, lose or draw.
Sport is often the only outlet a child has from the pressures of school and life in general so it is important to ensure they are allowed to enjoy their football and have a good experience.
Failure to release a player from a contract
This is not a child protection issue and is a matter for resolution between the club and the player involved.
Behaviour of the coach
Inappropriate behaviour in football is unacceptable and clubs and associations are responsible for taking appropriate action where they consider the behaviour of their team officials to be in breach of the Coaches Code of Conduct. Associations also have a level of jurisdiction over coaches and team officials which can result in those persons appearing before the tribunal and sanctions applied.
Penalties imposed for serious breaches of the Code of Conduct can include a lifetime ban from football.
Options for Breaches of the Code of Conduct
Options which clubs may consider when responding to breaches of the Coaches Code of Conduct:
- Speaking with the coach about their behaviour
- Monitoring the coach to observe the reported behaviour
- Mentoring the coach on how to improve his/her behaviour
- Mediation between the aggrieved parties
- Required to complete the Play By The Rules on-line training
- Required to complete an accredited coaching course at Football NSW
- Issue of a written warning to the coach about their behaviour
- Taking disciplinary action
- Suspending the coach from his/her duties for a period of time
- Dismissing the coach
OR a combination of these. Any action taken is at the discretion of the club or tribunal. The complainant DOES NOT determine the penalty. An offender should also consider offering an apology as this can often result in a favourable outcome.
Michelle Hanley, Football NSW State Member Protection Officer
- E: firstname.lastname@example.org
- P: (02) 8814 4402