Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A message from Arthur Bowden, Dorset & Wilts Chair of Governance

To Officers of all D&W Clubs – Senior & Junior/Mini Sections

Fellow Volunteers in Rugby:

Recent incidents in games of U14s, U16s and U18s are giving us great cause for concern.  There have been several assaults that have involved some Police intervention and may result in criminal records.  This is because the general standard of behaviour is very poor – including extreme abuse of referees and invasion of the playing area, even though the rules and regulations require them to be roped off.

Senior games have the usual numbers of players appearing before the Disciplinary Committee.  It is the younger sections that seem to have embraced the wrong culture: with over-zealous coaches; the ‘win at all costs’ attitude; referee abuse, which drives away our referees; and other selfish and uncontrolled behaviour.  It takes all the fun and enjoyment out of Rugby – for everyone.

Senior sections of clubs are responsible for the behaviour of their junior and mini sections.  All games played at the club should be monitored.  The Club Disciplinary Committee should not be reactive, but proactive: enrol other club members to help on a rota basis.

If you want guidance - D&W RFU has its 4 Daves to advise you -
  • Dave Dove and Dave Beck to help you with Disciplinary matters
    (Alistair Morrison can also advise about Youth & Schools Discipline),
  • Dave Wookey – Junior/Minis Regulations, Player Registration of all sorts
  • Dave Harris - Safeguarding, Health & Safety.
Unless we respond firmly to bad behaviour on the pitch and on the touchline, this problem will get out of control.  Clubs must discipline their players, officials and spectators.  Referees are quite right to abandon games when behaviour deteriorates; and please remember that clubs and individuals will be called before the CB Disciplinary Committee if their conduct brings the game in to disrepute.  There, if offences are admitted or proven then the “appropriate punishment” shall include, but shall not be limited to:
  1. For a person: a reprimand, a financial penalty or suspension from playing and/or administration; 
  2. For a Club: in addition to the sanction set out in section (a) above, financial or other compensation, deduction of league points or relegation, exclusion or disqualification from any competition.  Where a competition does not fall within the jurisdiction of the RFU a Club may be required to withdraw from that competition
The RFU distributes posters (such as The Code of Rugby) to all clubs and these reminders should be on prominent display in Clubhouses.  Coaches and others who foment trouble must be banned from the touchline.  Clubs will know their potential ‘trouble-makers’ and might suggest that they attend Anger Management courses, if need be.  They only bring their club into disrepute and are unsatisfactory role models to the youngsters under their control.

To those clubs which already take a firm control and deal with these problems – I thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Bowden
Chairman of Governance.