In response to several high-profile incidents, Sport Ireland partnered with representatives from the Irish sports sector, including referees and officials, to develop a template for a code of conduct for sport in Ireland.
This initiative aims to foster a culture of respect, integrity, and fairness within the sporting community by addressing and eliminating abuse towards referees, officials, coaches, players, and all participants involved. The newly created code of conduct template sets forth a set of guidelines and principles that promotes the behaviour and conduct expected from athletes, coaches, parents/guardians, supporters, referees/officials, and club members, regardless of the sporting environment.
While different sports organisations may have their own customised versions of a code of conduct based on their unique needs and values, this National Code of Conduct Template serves as a valuable reference for sports organisations that do not have an existing framework in place.
Sport Ireland recommends that National Governing Bodies use the code of conduct template as an opportunity to review their existing policies and procedures for handling code breaches.
Dr Una May CEO Sport Ireland, said, “we believe that by establishing a unified code of conduct template, we can support our sporting organisations to create a safer and more respectful environment for everyone involved in Irish sports. This initiative is a valuable step towards promoting good practice and ensuring that our sporting community thrives on mutual respect. A key aspect of the template is the education of participants on how to report breaches which is essential to maintain the integrity of Irish sports.”
Welcoming the template code, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD, said, “as a sporting community, it is crucial that we show our unwavering opposition against any form of abuse, racism and violence within sport. The power of sport lies in its ability to create a deep sense of belonging in our communities, and it is our utmost responsibility to prevent incidents of racism and violence from undermining this positive impact. While the enforcement of positive conduct primarily falls under the jurisdiction of Sporting Bodies, I wholeheartedly appreciate the efforts of Sport Ireland’s Working Group in developing this comprehensive code of conduct template. I strongly encourage the adoption and implementation of the template Code of Conduct by our Sporting Bodies.”
Key elements of the template include:
Promoting Fairness and Respect: The code outlines the importance of treating all participants, coaches, athletes, officials, and supporters with respect and fairness.
Supporting Positive Development: Emphasising the crucial role of parents/guardians and supporters in encouraging positive development in young participants and avoiding actions that may have a lasting emotional impact.
Minimising Breaches: The template defines the minimum levels of behaviour and conduct required and highlights the disciplinary procedures or sanctions that may be applied in case of code breaches.
Reporting Mechanisms: Participants are encouraged to report any breaches of the code promptly, ensuring that matters are addressed swiftly and appropriately.
Source: Sport Ireland