Making sports safe, inclusive and fair

Sometimes the worst of human behavior makes its way onto or around our playing fields. Players, and maybe worse, parents!, forget about why we play and the respect they should have for fellow players and for referees, coaches, etc. I would say this is a minority of those involved with sports, but still a large enough group that we need to be diligent in our monitoring of behavior that may negatively impact our games and in our efforts to promote sportsmanship and respect.

Thankfully, so many of the grassroots organizations we have highlighted have at their core such principles of sportsmanship and respect. They are certainly part of the solution. And there certainly are efforts by companies, associations, and sports governing bodies, see FIFA partnership with FARE, championing these principles and efforts.

You can add to this group, human rights commissions! The Victorian (Australia) Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission is encouraging its residents “to keep our sports fields free from discrimination and harassment, as regular work, school and sport routines begin for 2010.”

The training and information services program, Play by the Rules:

“presents five basic steps to fair sport, reminding everyone involved that it is always important to:

  • support your child, no matter how well they do
  • let the coach do the coaching
  • respect officials’ decisions
  • check out your club, and make sure they have policies about no bullying, anti-discrimination and child protection
  • relax, it’s just a game. It’s supposed to be fun – for everyone.”

Play by the Rules is a special partnership between the Australian Sports Commission, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, all state and territory sport and recreation and anti-discrimination agencies and the Queensland Commission for Children, Young People and Child Guardian.

It is telling that such a pronouncement and program needs to be out there but refreshing nonetheless. To learn more about the various elements of the program, resources available, and the incredibly content-rich and helpful online platform, please click here.