TO ALL FFNC MEMBER CLUBS
Every season I am regretfully obliged to communicate with too many member clubs in regards to allegations of behaviour (whether words or actions) that are contrary to reasonable measure.
Our sport has close to 7000 players and by implication, many thousands of parents and supporters, so having a clear expectation that behaviour is always absolutely appropriate, is in reality flawed by many factors.
After several weeks of incidents that are very disappointing, I write to each member club primarily to give clarity and disclosure on a range of items to everyone at the same time.
This communication is NOT intended to be a “lecture” but rather is part of the obligations that Football Far North Coast has in upholding the National Regulations and Statutes that are imposed by Football Federation Australia. Although football activity this season has been impeded by wet weather, there have still been instances EVERY week thus far of serious abuse towards match officials by players, team officials and by people who consider themselves supporters of football.
Amongst the most sinister, are threats to “kill a young assistant referee”, “Claims of cheating against several referees” and “allegations of falsification of records in the form of a player participating under someone else’s name.” EACH of these are a clear violation under Article 2 (Bringing the Game into Disrepute) of the FFA National Regulations. Multiple examples of abhorrent behaviour like these add to administrative burden of regular player send-offs also received on a weekly basis and more critically turn people away from our game, including referees!!
In my role as General Manager over nine years, I have been accused many time of “wasting time on such matters” and “imposing personal opinion in response to language or behaviour” and I wish to put some correctness into the broader issues that apply to ALL participants and the framework in which FFNC has operated consistently over several decades;
The National CODE OF CONDUCT is the primary document that articulates the purpose and parameters that Football Federation Australia stipulates in regards to behaviour that is NOT acceptable and processes relevant to breaches and allegations. This document can be found online via the following link;
Note that most incidents relevant to behaviour initiate a sanction being imposed under the National Disciplinary Regulations because it is a PLAYER who offends, however I highlight the more extensive scope of National Code of Conduct that applies to “any person/participant.”
Behaviour that initiates a COC enquiry (and process) is also specified under the National Regulations as implicating a “respective member club” in each instance and while I share a common view that it may be unreasonable to hold clubs that are run by VOLUNTEERS accountable for the actions of individuals, THAT is a non-negotiable consequence of the terms that Football Federation Australia has incorporated into its regulations. It is also no longer the case that a “simple phone call” is allowed to try and work through concerns. A changing landscape perhaps, but ALL due to the terms that exist within the National Regulations that Member Zones (eg FFNC) has been urged by their State Federation to implement at “arm’s length”.
As disclosed verbally to member clubs at the club forum in February, matters of a serious nature (ie in excess of minimum disciplinary sanctions or necessarily assessed under the COC) will now be considered by legal counsel, who will adhere to the terms and process of the National Regulations. This is to ensure that FFNC can demonstrate transparency and distance from accusations that have incorrectly sought to link FFNC (and its employees) as formulating the process and imposition of sanctions. The National Regulations and extremely rigorous and although correspondence with individuals and member clubs will ordinarily be issued by FFNC, assessment of serious offences and imposition of sanctions will occur externally. Disciplinary matters that result in a minimum sanction being imposed will continue to be assessed by FFNC.
If you wish to explore the extensive information that FFA mandates in relation to participants, I refer you to the following link;
Correspondence is of course generated to individual clubs when necessary and due to depth of process, several matters are still be pursued.
In summary, PLEASE make it abundantly clear to ALL players, team officials and spectators, that BEHAVIOUR, including LANGUAGE and ACTIONS, need to be reasonable and respectful.
I completely agree that time spent considering behavioural issues is a deviation to productive time and I would delight in not seeing any further examples of poor behaviour or send-offs again this year.
We ALL have a right to enjoy season 2017 without the influence and disruption of a noisy, rude minority, who continue to be out of step with our community. Let’s SPEAK UP and show our conviction to the values that we represent.
Football Far North Coast