Spectators are great for the game! Everyone loves playing in front of a passionate crowd.

However, some spectators can be a little too passionate and create a scene. Poor sideline behaviour can have a negative effect on the players, your club and the sport.

This includes:

  • Creating a bad match-day environment and culture at your club
  • Being intimidating to players, officials and club volunteers
  • Members withdrawing from the club or AFL all together
  • Increase risk of legal action e.g. abuse escalating to discrimination or harassment

Poor sideline behaviour will hurt everyone involved and needs to be stamped out before it starts to become the culture.

Establish a Club Code of Conduct

A Club Code of Conduct will outline an agreed standard of behaviour for your club’s administrators, coaches, officials, players and parents.

When establishing the code of conduct, there are three important considerations:

  • Develop codes of conduct in consultation with your club committee
  • Gain compliance by having members sign the codes of conduct.
  • Remind members of the codes on a regular basis.

Appoint great Ground Managers

Ground Managers play a large role when it comes to controlling poor sideline behaviour. Make sure your Ground Managers are clearly identifiable on game days, are educated on what to do if a situation occurs and are confident in managing poor behaviour. *Link to Ground Managers page*

Ensure responsible service of alcohol

A number of issues are fuelled by alcohol. While most people drink responsibly, some spectators may become more of a nuisance as more drinks are consumed. If this is often the case at your club, ensure your RSA obligations are being met or consider an alcohol ban if it is starting to become a cultural issue.

Promote the message

The club should continually promote the message that poor behaviour is not tolerated. This can be done via signage at the ground, PA announcements during game days, website and social media posts and mention of expectations at all club events.

Establish a clear incident process

Despite having prevention techniques in place, poor sideline behaviour may still occur. In which case you need to have a clear process on how to deal with the incident. Make sure all club officials, members and players are aware of the process. Your club’s Code of Conduct should detail what can be done in this situation.

The key to tackling poor sideline behaviour is to act early!

Stamp out poor behaviour before it escalates or becomes the norm at your club. No one wants to be THAT CLUB.