Managing Poor Behaviour

Help with managing poor behaviour at football

The majority of people attending matches participate in a respectful manner, creating an enjoyable and safe environment. Unfortunately sometimes a minority don’t demonstrate responsible and acceptable behaviour.

Below are some useful resources for Member Zones and clubs that can be used to educate and send important messaging via your websites, on social media and at grounds.

Education is the first step to maintaining a consistent approach towards poor sideline behaviour. ‘Let Kids Be Kids’ is a national sport program designed to help clubs and Member Zones tackle the issue of poor sideline behaviour.

Let kids be kids


Venue Signage templates

Policy Templates

Club Education

Conduct and behaviour

Jacketed ground officials

It is a requirement for clubs to appoint ground officials for every game day and/or for each team (both home and away) to prevent and deal with any incidents that may arise involving poor behaviour.  The title of the ground official will vary depending on each club and Member Zone. The role is often referred to as Ground Official, Ground Marshal, Duty Officer or Jacketed Official.

Club committees can best prepare their ground officials by:

  • Ensuring ground officials stand out on game day by providing them with a high visibility vest or jacket.
  • Providing training – ground officials need the skills and confidence to deal with difficult situations. Have your ground official complete the Play by the Rules Child Protection, Harassment and Complaint Handling training.
  • Establishing a reporting system – put in place an incident reporting system for ground officials to use.
  • Ground marshal’s should be familiar with steps to help resolve conflict and deal with issues quickly and appropriately.

Respect referees

Match officials are critical to the sport of football and without them there would be no game.  Players, team officials parents and spectators should treat them with respect and recognize that they too are often learning, and just like players, can only improve with more training and experience.

Photography and videoing in football

In Australia, generally speaking, there is no law restricting photography of people (including children) in public spaces as long as the images are not:

  • indecent
  • being used for voyeurism or made for the purpose of observing and visually recording a person’s genital or anal region
  • protected by a court order (eg. child custody or witness protection)
  • defamatory
  • being for commercial purposes (person’s likeness is used to endorse or entice people to buy a product).

Information about taking images in sport:

Common issues for players, parents and clubs

  • Insufficient game time – Football is a team sport and time on the bench is part of playing a team sport and being in a football team. It is a decision for the coach of a team to determine how much game time players receive.
  • Non-selection in team or squad – The selection of players and the suitability of players for a team is a decision for selectors. Players are generally selected based on skill, strength, stamina, physique, fitness, commitment, positive attitude and a willingness and ability to learn and improve.
  • Our team is not winning/my child is not scoring goals – Winning is not always a priority. Parents should support their children and encourage good sportsmanship no matter their priorities or outcome of the game.
  • My child is not being played in the position they prefer – The position that a child plays in or is allocated to is a decision for the team coach. While clubs and coaches like to try and keep everyone happy, it is not always possible to play children where they want or prefer to play at any level.
  • Failure to release a player from a contract – This is a matter for resolution between the club and the player involved.
  • Behaviour of the coach – Clubs and Member Zones 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 or relevant policies.  Clubs are also responsible for managing all complaints in relation to their coaches and any appropriate disciplinary action that may arise in relation to their employees and volunteers.