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Code of Conduct and Best Practice

Moycarkey Borris GAA Club - Code of Conduct and Best Practice


Moycarkey Borris GAA Club is fully committed to safeguarding the well being of its members and players. Every individual in the club should, at all times, show respect and understanding for their rights, safety and welfare, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of the club and the guidelines contained in the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland.

Sport provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn new skills, become more confident and maximise their own unique potential. These benefits will increase through a positive and progressive approach to the involvement of children in sport that places the needs of the child first and winning and competition second. Winning and losing are an important part of sport but they must be kept in a healthy perspective.

Fair Play

The principles of fair play should always be emphasised, and organisers should give clear guidelines regarding acceptable standards of behaviour. The importance of participation for each child, best effort and enjoyment rather than winning should be stressed. Children should be encouraged to win in an open and fair way. Behaviour which constitutes cheating in any form should be discouraged. The trust implicit in adult-child relationships in sport places a duty of care on all adults, voluntary or professional, to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the child while engaged in their sporting activity. Adults must contribute to the creation of a positive sporting environment for young people.

Best Practice

To ensure that best practice is being followed, Moycarkey Borris GAA Club will:
• Adopt and implement the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland as an integral part of its policy on children in the club
• Ensure that the Club Management Committee is elected or endorsed by registered club members at each AGM
• Appoint a Children’s Officer 
• Ensure best practice throughout the club by disseminating its code of conduct, including the disciplinary, complaints and appeals procedures in operation within the club to all its members. The club’s code of conduct should also be posted in all facilities used by the club
• Develop effective procedures for responding to and recording accidents
• Ensure that all club members are given adequate notice of AGMs and other meetings
• Ensure that all minutes of all meetings (AGM’s/EGM’s/Committee) are recorded and safely filed


The club will adopt the following practices in order to promote safety while participating in club activities:
• Activities being undertaken should be suitable for the ability, age, and experience of the participants
• Equipment and facilities should meet the highest possible standards and be appropriate to the maturity of the participants
• Where protective equipment is deemed necessary it should be used
• First Aid should be available for all training sessions and events. There should be a proper First Aid Kit.
• First Aid should be a basic element of a coaching leadership course
• Parents/guardians should be notified by the relevant coach of injuries/illness which their children incur while participating in a sporting activity
• Umpires and referees should ensure that the conduct of the games conform to the standards set 
• Children should be taught the rules of the game and be encouraged to abide by them, keeping in mind that many rules are there for safety
• Parents/guardians should know the starting and finishing times of sessions and events

Supervision of Away Trips

Attention should be paid to the following factors if away trips are being contemplated:
• Written permission of parents / guardians should be obtained for all overnight away trips
• Parents / guardians should inform the club / team mentors at the outset of any medical condition or special needs of their child
• The roles and responsibilities of adults participating in away trips should be clearly defined
• Where there are mixed teams there should be at least one female mentor 
• As a rule adults should not share a room with a child. Where the presence of an adult is required there should be more than one child in the room with the adult. If children are sharing a room it should be with those of the same age and sex 
• Adequate adult : child ratios should be observed
• Special care should be taken by both host and visiting clubs in the selection of homes for overnight stays, and where practicable more than one child should be placed with each host family
• If a child suffers a serious injury or accident the parents/guardians should be informed as soon as possible

Discipline, Complaints and Appeals

Discipline in sport should always be positive in focus, providing the structure and rules that allow participants to learn to set their own goals and strive for them. It should encourage young people to become more responsible for themselves and therefore more independent.
The main form of discipline should be positive reinforcement for effort. It should encourage the development of emotional and social skills as well as skills in sport. Children should be helped to become responsible about the decisions and choices they make within sport, particularly when they are likely to make a difference between playing fairly and unfairly. There should be no place for fighting, over-aggressive or dangerous behaviour in sport. Participants should treat others in a respectful manner. They should not interfere with, bully or take unfair advantage of others

Club Children’s Officer

The appointment of a Children’s Officer is an essential element in the creation of a quality atmosphere within Moycarkey Borris GAA Club. S/he will act as a resource for all members of the club with regard to children’s issues. S/he will ensure that the children have a voice in the running of their club and can talk freely about their experiences in their sports activities. The Children’s Officer will have access to the Club Executive Committee. S/he will have as her primary aim the establishment of a child centred ethos within the club. The Children’s Officer will have the following functions:
• To promote awareness of the Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children’s Sport in Ireland within the club and particularly among the children and their parents/guardians. This could be achieved by the production of information leaflets, the establishment of children’s/age-group specific notice boards and by regular information meetings for the children and their parents/guardians
• To influence policy and practice within the club in order to prioritise children’s needs
• To provide an accessible resource to children 
• To see that children know how to make concerns known to appropriate adults or agencies. Information disclosed by a child to the Children’s Officer or any other adult within the club should be dealt with in accordance with the Department of Health and Children’s Guidelines Children First and the Department of Health and Social Services 
• To encourage the involvement of parents/guardians in the club activities and co-operate with parents/guardians in ensuring that each child enjoys his/her involvement in sport
• To act as an advisory resource to Sports Leaders on best practice in children’s sport
• To report regularly to the Club Executive Committee
• To monitor changes in membership and follow up any unusual dropout, absenteeism or club transfers by children or Sports Leaders

Children’s Officers do not have the responsibility of investigating or validating child protection concerns within the club and have no counselling or therapeutic role. It is, however, possible that child protection concerns will be brought to the attention of the Children’s Officer.

Code of Conduct – Players

• Always do your best, play fairly and have fun
• Always shake hands before and after a match
• Respect officials/referees and accept their decisions
• Do not shout at or argue with the referee, officials, team mates or opponents
• Bullying is totally unacceptable
• Avoid using foul or abusive language
• Always remember that hurling and football is a team game and encourage your fellow players
• Respect your club and its property

Code of Conduct – Mentors

• Avoid physical or verbal abuse
• Avoid spending excessive amounts of time with children away from others
• Avoid taking children to your home or taking children on journeys alone in your car
• Coach by example and encourage sportsmanship and fair play on the field of play among juvenile players
• Ensure that sufficient time and attention is given to less talented players
• Try to ensure that training is an enjoyable experience for the players
• Do not put too much emphasis on results
• Avoid verbal exchanges with referees or opposing mentors / players 
• Avoid taking sessions alone
• Do not rebuke a child for making a mistake, always encourage

Code of Conduct – Parents

• Always encourage and support your child in their sport
• Be familiar with those mentors who are coaching your child
• Behave responsibly on the sideline
• Bring children to and from training on time
• Encourage your child to play by the rules
• Ensure your child has the proper training/playing gear and water
• Support the coaches and help out wherever necessary
• Ensure that your child is registered and paid-up 
• Respect the coaches’ decisions and encourage your children to do the same
• Show your support for your child/team by attending matches on a regular basis and assisting in the organisation of club activities

Discipline Levels

The use of sanctions is an important element in the maintenance of discipline. Coaches have the authority to apply sanctions where deemed necessary, however, coaches should have a clear understanding of where and when particular sanctions are appropriate. The age and developmental stage of the child should be taken into consideration when using sanctions. The following steps are suggested:

Minor Offences

• a warning should be given if a rule is broken, e.g. poor conduct.
• a sanction (for example, use of time out) should be applied if a rule is broken for a second time.
• if a rule is broken three or more times, the child should be spoken to, and if necessary, the parents/guardians should be informed. 
• If the offences continue the coach can request that the player be suspended from training & matches for a defined period

Serious Offences

Serious offences can be defined as:
• Continuous breaches of discipline
• Refusal to carry out the instructions of the coach
• Wilful damage to club property or that of visiting teams, or
• Bringing the club into disrepute through the player’s actions during a training session, match or any event organised by the club.

In the event of such incidents occurring, the coach can ask the parent/guardian to collect their child from the training/match and suspend the player from playing or training for a defined period. The coach may also report the incident to the executive committee of Moycarkey Borris GAA Club if s/he deems it necessary. On receipt of any such complaint the executive committee or a sub-committee thereof will investigate the incident and recommend any further punishment deemed proportionate to the offence involved.