Bay of Plenty Rugby aims to create a “Positive Rugby Environment” at all levels of the game, for all our participants whether they be a player, coach, referee, administrator or spectator. We try to strengthen the community game by the retention and attraction of players, coaches and referees and in order to do that we all must ensure that we provide a positive rugby environment for that growth to take place.

To do that we need to educate all of our stakeholders on what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour whilst participating or observing our great game. We also need to provide a method for our stakeholders to notify us of behaviour that doesn’t fit within the framework of, “Positive Rugby”.

The Poor Behaviour Form at the bottom of this page provides an easy way for anyone to make us aware of an incident that makes our rugby environment a negative place to be.

What is and isn’t acceptable? This page is broken into five sections:

1. Player
2. Coach
3. Referee
4. Administrator
5. Parent/Caregiver and Spectator

Under each section, we have highlighted what is acceptable behaviour and what is deemed unacceptable. Often, people don’t realise that what they’re doing could be found to be offensive behaviour by others and one of the strategies in making our rugby fields a positive rugby environment is education.

Players are integral to the growth of rugby in the Bay of Plenty. The NZRU has undertaken extensive research into why players stop playing and fundamental to their reason was that rugby simply wasn’t fun for them. So how can our players ensure that their behaviour fits within being acceptable?

Player Do's:
1. Players must control their temper.
2. Players are to work equally hard for themselves and their team.
3. Players are to treat all players in their sport as you would like to be treated.
4. Players are to co-operate with their coach, team mates and opponents.
5. Players should display modesty in victory and graciousness in defeat.
6. Players should be participating in rugby for their own enjoyment and benefit.
7. Players must respect the rights, dignity and worth of all participants, regadlerss of their gender, ability, cultural background or religion.
8. Players must thank the opposition and officials at the end of the game.
9. Players must comply with anti doping policies.
10. Players must use appropriate language with other players, coaches officials and other spectators.
11. Players must present themselves and act in an appropriate way at pre-game and after match functions.

Player Do Not's:
1. Players are NOT to argue with an official. If you disagree with a decision, speak to your captain, coach or manager during a break or afterwards.
2. Players must NOT lose their temper and verbally abuse officials or other players.
3. Players must not bully or take unfair advantage of another player.
4. Players should not be participating just to please their parents.

Our coaches are the cornerstone of our wonderful game. Without them, we cannot have a game. Great coaches are not the ones roaming up and down the side line yelling and screaming at their players. They’re the ones quietly observing and then providing positive encouragement and guidance at the appropriate time.

Coach Do's:
1. Coaches must remember that players participate for a number of reasons like enjoyment and winning is only a part of the fun.
2. Coaches must remember to be reasonable on demands for players time, energy and enthusiasm.
3. Coaches must operate within the rules and spirit of the game and teach their players to do the same.
4. Coaches must ensure that all of their players spend time with you in a positive experience.
5. Coaches are to provide all players with equal attention and opportunities.
6. Coaches are to ensure that all equipment and facilities meet safety standards and are appropriate to the age and ability of all players.
7. Coaches must display control, respect and professionalism to all involved with rugby including opponents, match officials, other coaches, administrators, the media, parents and spectators.
8. Coaches must show concern and caution toward sick and injured players and follow the advice of a physician when determining whether an injured player is ready to commence training or competition.
9. Coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of all people involved in the game, regardless of their gender, ability or cultural background.
10. Coaches must promote adherence to anti-doping policies.
11. Coaches must use appropriate language and present themselves in an appropriate way with all other stakeholders.

Coach Do Not's:
1. Never ridicule or yell at players for making a mistake or not winning.
2. No pacing up and down the side line yelling and screaming, either at your players, at the opposition or at the referee.
3. Under no circumstances are you to go onto the field during the game, even if it is to intervene in a scuffle involving your players. Your actions will more than likely inflame the situation and cause others to also encroach onto the field.

Quite often on the receiving end of side line abuse, referee’s play their part in providing a positive rugby environment for everyone. Coincidentally, a poor referee performance can be the catalyst for a lot of referee abuse.

Referee Do's:
1. Safety is paramount, if it looks dangerous STOP IT!
2. Adjudicate both sides fairly. Be impartial, consistent, objective and courteous when making decisions.
3. Accept responsibility for your actions and decisions.
4. You must know and keep up to date with the Laws of The Game.
5. You must be fit for the fixture you’re refereeing.
6. Be a positive role model in behaviour and personal appearance and ensure your comments are positive and supportive.
7. Ensure you complete all of the written reports following the issue of red and yellow cards.

Referee Do Not's:
1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If you make a mistake against a team, you can’t even up the score by doing something to counter your mistake.
2. Don’t lose your cool. You must remain calm under pressure and be prepared to be the subject of verbal criticism and not react.
3. Don’t react when confronted by others who are not in control of themselves.

Usually the unsung heroes of clubs and schools, these are the people that arrive at dawn to set up the field and don’t get home till well after the bar closes. They are the people that man the canteen, they are the people that attend committee meetings well after everyone else has gone home.
Administrator’s play a vital role in ensuring we provide a positive rugby environment. Here are your do’s and don’ts.

Administrator Do's:
1. Ensure there is quality supervision and coaching for players.
2. Remember that players participate for their enjoyment and benefit.
3. Help coaches and other officials of your organisation highlight appropriate behaviour and skill development and help improve the standards or coaching and officiating.
4. Ensure everyone involved in rugby emphasises fair play.
5. Distribute a code of conduct to your players, coaches and other officials and parents and encourage them to follow it.
6. Respect the rights, dignity and worth of all people involved in the game regardless of their gender, ability or cultural background.
7. Promote adherence to anti-doping policies.
8. Use appropriate language with your players, coaches, match officials and spectators.
9. Present yourself in an appropriate way with all stake holders.
10. Always ensure the field is set up safely and correctly including all flags, pads and ropes.
11. Ensure your club or school has someone on hand to deal with people’s grievances.

Administrator Do Not's:
1. Don’t be flippant with people’s concerns. It may seem trivial to you, but show some compassion and you’ll retain a club member.

Parents/caregivers and spectators are the backbone of our wonderful game. Often a thankless task, these important people spend hours driving players to and from trainings and matches. It is imperative then that while you’re participating from the side-lines, you’re aware of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour.

Parent/Caregivers and Spectators Do's:
1. Respect match officials and coaches decisions.
2. Respect the efforts of your opponents.
3. Applaud good play and performances by both teams
4. Give positive comments that motivate and encourage continued effort.
5. Support your teams performance.
6. Thank the coaches, match officials and other volunteers who give up their time to conduct the event.
7. Assist when asked by coaches and match officials.
8. Respect the rights, dignity and worth of all people involved in the game regardless of their gender, ability or cultural background.
9. Use appropriate language with players, coaches, match officials and spectators.
10. Present yourself in an appropriate way with at pre-game and after match functions.

Parent/Caregivers and Spectators Do Not's:
1. Never ridicule or yell at players for making a mistake or not winning.
2. No pacing up and down the side line yelling and screaming, either at your players, at the opposition or at the referee.
3. Under no circumstances are you to go onto the field during the game, even if it is to intervene in a scuffle involving your players. Your actions will more than likely inflame the situation and cause others to also encroach onto the field.

Who is Responsible for Reporting Bad Behaviour?
Coaches, Referees and Club and School Officials and even parents and spectators want to put a stop to bad behaviour at sporting events, but are often unsure of what they can do to intervene and who is responsible for what.

Here are some steps that can be taken depending on the seriousness of the incident:

Reporting inappropriate behaviour - Responsibility of everyone:
Behaviour that contravenes the codes of conduct should be reported to the event manager. Any person who is unsure who the event manager is should report the incident to a club committee member or club official.

Approaching the Person Exhibiting Poor Behaviour - Responsibility of the event manager / club committee:
Only the event manager or an appropriate club official should approach the person exhibiting poor behaviour - this prevents the situation escalating.

Issuing warnings - Responsibility of the event manager / club committee:
The first time a person breaches a code of conduct, they might be issued with a warning. The person might not be aware that their behaviour is unacceptable and should be notified of the club's rules regarding behaviour.

Taking disciplinary action - Responsibility of the club committee/ District or Province Association
If the conduct is repeated or of a serious nature the club committee/judiciary should consider taking disciplinary action in accordance with its rules. This might result in counselling, suspension or expulsion. The issue maybe escalated to the District, State or Territory Association for action.

Removing people from the field of play or venue - Responsibility of the event manager / club committee:
The referee should communicate directly and immediately with the event manager to remove a person from the ground. If the club is in a position to control ground entry, it will be able to evict persons from the ground. Where attendance is not controlled, clubs can request offenders leave the ground, or otherwise can discipline the person for breach of the code.

Suspending play - Responsibility of the referee:
The referee may suspend play and refuse to restart until appropriate action has been taken. They may request that a person is removed from the side line and, in serious cases, abandon the game altogether.

Involving the police - Responsibility of the ground official / club committee:
If a person feels the behaviour of another constitutes a criminal act the police should be notified immediately by the event manager.

Resolving Conflict Steps:
Stop, Look, Listen and Respond
Event managers may at times deal with volatile situations that require strategies to redirect hostile people and defuse confrontational situations. The first minute of an interaction often determines its direction and outcome and how people react to an interaction is largely dependent on the cues they pick up from you. Try the following steps...

1. Assess the risk and situation as I approach
2. Decide whether to send for assistance
3. Stay open-minded, intending to defuse the situation
4. Remain calm
5. Don't argue, accuse, or tell to 'calm down'

1. Are they drunk?
2. Have I ever reacted like that?
3. When I was that age...how did I behave?
4. If I was brought up in that culture/environment would I act the same?
5. Are their expectations of the ref, coach, players or club too high?
6. Am I the focus of their anger?
7. Has the person just displayed aggression towards an individual or group?
8. Is it likely that the person will physically and/or mentally harm you or others?
9. Do you think that this situation is more appropriate for Security or Police

1. Receive other people's comments without interruption
2. Show empathy and use statements carefully.
3. Validate and clarify
4. Recognise your own prejudices
5. Be quiet

1. Remain calm and keep your language short and simple
2. Use non-threatening body language and tone of voice
3. Very rarely is using the word: 'NO' going to get you very far with the public
4. It is better to say: 'I need' or we need rather than 'you must' or you 'have to'
5. Learn to feel comfortable with phrases such as:
a. 'I can help you better if.....'
b. 'I need you to help me by slowing down just a little...'
c. 'I really don't think your comments......'

In Summary:
Listen to what the problem is for them
Say what the problem is for you
Focus on the problem, not the person
Look for answers so everyone gets what they need
If the situation can't be resolved in a rationale manner, report the incident.


Section 14 of the Inquiries Act 2013 states that in making a decision as to the procedure of an inquiry, or in making a finding that is adverse to any person, the inquiry must comply with the principles of natural justice. 

The principle of natural justice ensures that people subject to criticism or adverse findings have a proper opportunity to respond to ensure that the Inquiry’s reports are fair and accurate.

If a proposed finding may adversely affect the interests of any person, the Inquiry must be satisfied that the person is aware of the matters on which the proposed finding is based and has had an opportunity, at any time in the course of the Inquiry, to respond on those matters.​

The Inquiry will then consider responses in light of further information provided and finalise its report.  

What this means is, if you intend to make a complaint about someone's behaviour that is adverse to them, they muist have a proper opportunity to respond to ensure the inquiry is fair.  Part of this means complaints must be brought to the attention of the person/s as soon as practiacble.  With respect to matters within rugby, where games happen on mostly a weekly basis, any complaint made under these circumstances need to be made within 48 hours after the match being played so as to give the person a fair opportunity to be able to respond.  Complaints received after this timeframe are not likely to be heard.