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.
Recent incidents involving fans, players, coaches and umpires have put the spotlight on local sport for all of the wrong reasons.
Win, lose or draw, no club wants to be known for their bad behaviour. This finals season, use our tips to help set clear expectations for fans, members and visitors, reminding them of what it means to be a great supporter all year round.
- Be responsible when serving alcohol
There is a proven link between sporting events and violence, and alcohol is believed to contribute to these stats significantly.
Good Sports recommends all clubs have an Alcohol Management Policy 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.
A number of small measures can have a big impact on how spectators behave on game day:
– Ban alcohol at junior games. This is a no-brainer – there’s no place for alcohol at a junior sporting game. Many Leagues and Associations have already regulated this.
– 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 to 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 an Alcohol Management and Illegal Drug 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 any 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 in order to reach the most people using A-Frames 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.
- Gather more resources
There is plenty of information out there to help clubs create more family-friendly environments throughout the season.
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.