Football NSW Communication – 4th May

Dear Associations & Branches,

Last weekend we had a stark reminder of the violent extremes that can occur within our game and the rare, but present, incidences that occur on football fields across Australia and the world. Whilst the severity of these types of incidents are rare, lesser forms of assault, verbal abuse, misconduct and discrimination occur every weekend across NSW. This is the ugly side of our game that we as a sport have been unable to tame and understand there is no ‘quick fix’ to become an inclusive and respectful sport overnight. However, we are cognisant of our role as Competition Administrators and leaders of the game in our part of the world and feel the need to communicate to our members to remind them of our zero-tolerance stance and commit to further long term initiatives and education pieces that will create cultural and behavioural change.

Tomorrow afternoon Football NSW will be communicating the below message (italised) to the player database. 

Further to this, Football NSW will be implementing a 30 seconds round of applause prior to all FNSW Competition fixtures (BYL, GYL, Seniors) this weekend, 5 – 7th May. This symbol is to display solidarity towards FNSW’s zero-tolerance policy. Alongside this, FNSW will also be reinforcing its policies and regulations in relation to ground officials on matchday and their roles.

We encourage all Associations and Branches to continue to communicate the message of ‘RESPECT’ throughout the year and reinforce Association based regulations and rules to create a safe environment.

The simple 1%’ers make a difference on the ground. Some initiatives and things to consider include:

  • Reminder to players/parents of their relevant code of conduct
  • Reminder to coaches & club officials of their responsibility as leaders in the game and their sideline behaviour as role models
  • Reminder to Clubs of their responsibility for matches, such as welcoming the referees, ensuring payment is prompt, ensuring ground officials are present and spectator behaviour is maintained
  • Encouraging Clubs and teams to be responsible for their players and commitment towards fair play

Whilst the above initiatives and communication will not change the current culture of our game, these will act as a timely reminder. In due course, FNSW will be engaging Associations, Branches and Clubs to work with us on this area of the game to ensure the environment is safe and we can stem the current decline of referee and volunteer numbers that arise from unpleasant scenarios.

All the best,

Communication to be sent tomorrow (4/5/2023) to FNSW data base.

Football NSW would like to remind everyone involved within our game of their responsibility in creating a safe, inclusive and supportive environment during football activities.

Whether as a player, official or spectator at a match, you have a responsibility to ensure that the game is played in a fair, competitive manner without the escalation of abuse, intimidation or breaching of the Laws of the Game. 

Football NSW and Associations have observed an increase in the number of reported incidents involving abuse towards referees, including verbal abuse, intimidation and other unsportsmanlike conduct that brings our game into disrepute. We will not tolerate this.

Football NSW has a zero-tolerance stance for this type of behaviour and will continue to impose strict sanctions on those that do not comply.

The support and safety of our referees, our team officials and our players is paramount. 

Consistent with our zero-tolerance stance, Football NSW will be requesting all FNSW Clubs to participate in a pre-match symbol of solidarity with, and in respect for, referees by performing a 30-second round of applause prior to kick-off. This should include both teams standing around the centre circle together with referees positioned on the halfway line intersect.

Together we must protect our game and ensure that players, coaches, referees and spectators can continue to enjoy their football in a safe environment. We ask you to be proactive when on the field and in the stands to exhibit the values of football and ensure those around you respect the game equally. 

For further information and resources that extend to all participants of the game, please see the below links.

Resource list

Football Australia Code of Conduct and Ethics

Football Australia Spectator Code of Behaviour

Football Australia Member Protection Framework

Football NSW Grievance & Disciplinary Regulations

Member Protection information and resources