The IRFU Ulster Branch has become increasingly concerned at the rise in the number of reported cases of referee abuse by players, coaches and spectators as well as reports of decreasing standards of behaviour across all aspects of the game. Following a wide-ranging review, the Ulster Branch has decided to implement the following code of conduct with immediate effect covering all clubs affiliated to the Province.Use of Images – refers to all photographic and film/video footage – With the increased use of technology (video or photographic) in rugby it is now important for clubs to adopt a policy in relation to the use of these images of their players. – Guidelines when using images of young players:- – Ensure parental/ guardian agreement for the use of images/ photographs. – Ensure consent/approval/accreditation is given prior to the event. – Establish what type of images/photographs will be allowed to ensure suitability. – Establish what information will accompany these photographs/ images, ensuring players are not identified by name. – Use group photographs, identifying the club rather than the individual. – Use only images/photographs that are suitable. – Encourage the use of group photographs, identifying the club rather than the individual. – Use of Images on social media:- – Personal details of a young person should not be included. – Captions should be in keeping with the sport represented. – The posting and type of image used should not breach the codes of conduct. PRFCWe would urge all of members to read and follow the guidelines. Code for Players – General – Play for enjoyment and become part of the rugby family. – Respect the “Game of Rugby” and play within the laws of the Game. – Accept the referee’s decision and let your captain ask any relevant questions. – Play with control. Do not lose your temper. – Always do your best and be committed to the game, your team and your club. – Be a “good sport”. Applaud all good play whether by your team or the opposition. – Respect your opponent. Treat all players as you would like to be treated. Do not “bully” or take advantage of any player. – Rugby is a team sport so make sure you co-operate with your coach, teammates and members of your club. – At the end of the match thank your opponents and the referee for the match. – Always remember that you owe a duty of care to your opponents. Tackle hard but fairly, do not intend to hurt your opponent. – Winning and losing is part of sport: Win with humility – lose with dignity. – As part of the team it is important that you attend training regularly, listen to your coach and help your team. – As a team sport it is important to understand that all members are important to the team! – Remember you are representing your team, club, family and the Game of Rugby. Code for Players – Age Grade Specific (additional to above) – Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve your skills and feel good. Code for Parents – Age Grade Specific – Remember, young people play rugby for their enjoyment, not only yours. – Remember age grade players are not ‘miniature internationals’. Please don’t expect them to play at the same level as adult players. – Encourage your child always to play by the Laws of the Game. – Teach young children that honest endeavour is as important as winning, so that the result of each game is accepted without disappointment. – Show respect for the opponents; without them there would be no match. – Help young people to work towards skill improvement and good sportsmanship. – Set a good example by applauding good play on both sides. – Never ridicule, humiliate or shout at young players for making a mistake or losing a match. – Do not place emphasis on winning at all costs. – Do not force an unwilling child to participate in the playing of rugby. If the child is to play, he/she will do so in good time through your encouragement. – Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from rugby. – As a spectator do not use profane language or harass referees, coaches or players. – Do not publicly question the referees’ judgement and never their honesty. – Recognise the value and importance of volunteer referees and coaches. – Identify and acknowledge the good qualities of the Game of Rugby and uphold these values. – Remember you and your child’s contribution to the Game of Rugby is very important to the IRFU and be proud of your contribution. – Understand the value of team sport and the importance thereof. Code for Coaches – Lead by example – players need a coach whom they respect. – Be generous with your praise when it is deserved. Never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or losing a match. – Teach your players that the Laws of the Game are mutual agreements which no one should evade or break. – Develop player and team respect for the ability of opponents, as well as for the judgement of referees and opposing coaches. – Insist on fair play and disciplined play. Do not tolerate foul play, fighting or foul language. Be prepared to take off an offending player. – Create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to train and play. – Never criticise the referee or touch judges during or after a match in front of players or spectators. – Always thank the match officials and if they have made decisions which require clarification, discuss the problems after everyone has changed. – Seek and follow the advice of a doctor in determining when an injured player is ready to play again. – Be responsible and ensure you uphold the ethos of the game and the IRFU. – Ensure you and your players are proud of your team, club and efforts during the season. Code for Coaches – Age Grade Specific (additional to above) – Ensure that all players participate in matches. The “average” players deserve equal time. – Remember that young players play for fun and enjoyment and that skill learning and playing for fun have priority over highly structured competition. Winning is not the only objective. – Remember that as a coach of an “age grade team” you are to act in “loco parentis” and to that extent your duty of care is more onerous than that of a coach to an adult team. – Support the Code of Ethics and all policies regarding Children in Sport. – Be aware of the effect you have on growing children. – Do not overburden younger players with too much information. Code for Spectators – Be on your best behaviour and lead by example. Do not use profane language or harass referees, players or coaches. – Applaud good play by the visiting team as well as your own. – Show respect for your team’s opponents. Without them there would not be a match. – Condemn the use of violence in all forms at every opportunity. – Verbal abuse of players or referees cannot be accepted in any shape or form. – Players or referees are not fair targets for ignorant behaviour. – Encourage players to play by the Laws of the Game. – Spectators can contribute to the enjoyment of the event and all involved. – Be proud of your club and the Game of Rugby Social Media – Remember that social media postings and emails can be circulated well beyond your intended audience. Show the same standards of behaviour and respect when commenting on rugby matches on social media as you would at the match itself. – Comment positively on matches, giving credit to opposition teams as well as your own. – Do not raise any concerns or grievances you may have via social media. If you have a genuine concern, please raise this through your club or school using the proper procedures.