WIMMERA sporting clubs must comply with a new state-driven code of conduct in order to receive government funding into the future.
Sporting clubs across the state must implement the state government’s new Fair Play Code – an updated version of the 2010 Victorian Code of Conduct for Community Sport – by July 1.
The code is underpinned by five pillars – integrity, respect, responsibility, fairness and safety – and urges clubs to create an inclusive and safe environment for participants.
Clubs will be ineligible for government funding if they do not adopt the code.
Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly executive officer David Berry said all clubs needed to understand the code before July 1.
“Any club or association that applies for funding under Sport and Recreation Victoria will have to show they are committed to the code and standards,” he said.
“Clubs hoping for funds to improve facilities will have to adopt principles of the code going forward. Clubs need to embed the it into their policies and procedures.
“They need to have processes to enforce the code and promote it. That can be on a website, Facebook page or promoting it at the clubrooms. It’s probably what clubs do already but it’s about documenting it.
“The old code was a code of conduct of behaviour. This one includes these new five pillars and it is a bit more broad. The whole club needs to know about the code and there needs to be evidence in the club that they are abiding by it.”
The state government and the assembly held an information session about the code for sporting clubs on Monday night in Horsham.
Mr Berry said it was disappointing to only see one football and netball club attend.
“The meeting highlighted to the clubs that there is more compliance for them to look at,” he said. “It’s disappointing that only one football and netball club attended.
“I agree it was a bit of a rushed forum, but all the people that attended received the same notification as everyone else.”
“If there is a breach of the code and the club does nothing then they aren’t complying. It’s not so much that there was a breach – it’s what the club does to deal with the breach that shows they are enforcing the code.”
Mr Berry said he was looking at holding another session for clubs that missed out before July 1.
Tony Sleep represented the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association at the meeting and said from his perspective a lot of the code was about common sense.
“A lot of it is common sense and for most clubs it’s going to be an awareness thing,” he said.
“In terms of accessing grants and funding down the track, you now have to be living within these parameters.
“The code isn’t outlandish and you aren’t reinventing the wheel. If clubs are in touch with how they want their club to be perceived, then I can only say the Fair Play Code is something you need to be very much aware of.”
Mr Sleep said some clubs at the meeting were concerned about an increased workload and compliance for sporting club volunteers.
Clubs need to have processes to enforce the code and promote it.David Berry
“From my perspective it’s a set of behaviours clubs need to be living and breathing,” Mr Sleep said.
“The issues raised at the meeting were that there is a lot of compliance for clubs and volunteers and you don’t want to deter volunteers.
“Your typical country families will be involved with two or three sports and it can be hard when your volunteer hours are spread across, so maybe the key is to get more people involved to share that load.”
Taylors Lake Football Netball Club president Tammy McDonald said her club had already taken steps to implement the Fair Play Code.
“Realisticaly it won’t be much of a change – we are promoting and trying our best to be a family friendly and inclusive club,” she said.
“It’s all about communicating what the right way to behave is and what steps to take if you see something that isn’t right.
“It’s not just about our volunteers – we need to educate our parents and the juniors are the starting point for these principles.”