19th May, 2021 — Membership and management

Preventing poor spectator behaviour

With passions high and trophies on the line, finals season has a habit of bringing out the best, and sometimes the worst, in club supporters.

Win, lose or draw, all clubs want to be known for being a good sport. This finals season, use our tips to help set clear expectations for fans, members and visitors. Remind them of what it means to be a great supporter all year round and to role model positive behaviour for young club members.

Be responsible when serving alcohol

Good Sports recommends all clubs have an alcohol management plan in place to set clear expectations around drinking at the club. If you’re a club that sells alcohol, it’s really important that this policy is in line with the club’s liquor license requirements.

There is a proven link between sporting events and violence, and alcohol is believed to contribute to these stats significantly.

A few small measures can have a big impact on how spectators behave on game day:

Ban alcohol at junior games. Many Leagues and Associations have already regulated this and it’s a great way to set a positive example for your up-and-coming sports stars.

Only serve mid-strength beer at senior matches. Providing low-alcoholic options will help members and guests keep a lid on their alcohol intake. It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of non-alcohol options, like soft-drink and water.

Manage where alcohol is consumed. Many liquor licenses and league guidelines will require clubs to keep drinking to the bar or clubrooms. This, combined with a no-BYO policy, is a good way to clearly separate alcohol from the sidelines.

Make sure food and water is available. Running a BBQ will not only help to raise money for your club, it can also help limit risky drinking and intoxication. Check out some great substantial food ideas here. Set up a free water stand next to the BBQ to encourage spectators to limit their alcohol intake.

Have the right policies in place

Set clear expectations for members and guests by including a range of policies as part of your club guidelines. This might include a code of conduct for players and spectators, as well as a Good Sports policy.

Policies help to prepare your club. Having a policy in writing takes the pressure off committee members or leaders who have something to refer to should an incident occur.

Remind people of their commitment

Remind members and players of your club policies in the lead-up to the finals season, keeping the expectations and guidelines front-of-mind.

At junior games, parents may need reminding that junior sport should be about supporting their kids with positive encouragement and a focus on teamwork, respect and sportsmanship.

Get creative and reach more people by using A-frame signs in car parks or spectator areas, signs near the canteen lines, posters on cubicle doors and match-day/training announcements.

Start with the leaders

Being a great leader includes role-modelling the right behaviours. Ensure that any committee members, coaches and club leaders are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to promoting a more family-friendly and positive club environment during finals season and beyond.

You might consider holding an informal session with these club leaders to go through any policies and expectations the club has in the lead up to finals.

You could get in touch with your League or Association to see if they have any resources to share. Good Sports is also happy to help with any questions you might have – get in touch with us here.

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Membership and management