Dear Club Presidents,
Re: Respect The Game Reminder
As we kick-off another exciting year of football in Victoria, we look forward to seeing the many tens of thousands of girls, boys, women and men playing and officiating football matches across Victoria, watched and supported by thousands more parents, family members, club officials and volunteers.
To support these participants, Football Victoria recently launched the Respect The Game campaign to bring awareness of the issues we all need to work on to keep our game strong, provide a safe, enjoyable environment that protects participants, match officials, club administrators, volunteers and spectators.
At the Club Development Conference back in February, we asked all clubs to sign a pledge to Respect The Game and that we will be united in calling out behaviour that undermines this pledge and drive a culture of respect within our football community.
Sadly, we still see a small group of people (on and off the field) who unfortunately decide that it is acceptable to abuse referees, both official and volunteers, scream and yell at players, coaches and officials, criticise performance rather than celebrate effort and also ignore, manipulate and question rules and decisions.
Over the last few weeks, we have also had some isolated and unacceptable conduct (on field and off field) around racial abuse, physical violence and melees. These matters will be dealt with through our Grievance, Disciplinary and Tribunal accordingly.
The impact this behaviour has on our game cannot be understated. People stop playing the game, referees stop officiating, tensions between clubs rise.
In order to make a genuine difference to the behaviour of everyone involved in our game, a cultural shift really does need to occur at all levels so that we are all genuinely respecting the game.
Football Victoria can only do so much and this shift in culture must be driven from within clubs and their hierarchies. 80% of the incidents being reported and identified are caused by and/or involve non-playing participants. This is alarming!
We will not tolerate abuse in our game, directed towards referees, players, coaches, spectators, officials or volunteers. This pledge unifies us all into stamping out this behaviour within our own football families.
We all have an obligation to provide a safe environment for all Victorians to unite through football and I implore you to help us improve the football experience by spreading this message to all your members and players.
I appreciate your cooperation in this matter and take this opportunity to wish you all the best this weekend and all throughout the season.
Sincerely yours in football,
Dear Club Presidents,