JUNIOR sports clubs around Victoria could find themselves without vital government funding if they cannot rein in badly behaved parents.
But Echuca and Moama’s football clubs aren’t worried – and neither are local police.
Police have not had to attend an incident at the local footy ‘‘in recent memory’’, and say they have a great relationship with all local clubs.
A statewide fair play code will come into effect from July 1, asking clubs and leagues to take the lead on enforcing punishments for unruly behaviour from the sidelines.
It is an attempt to stamp out parent violence, cheating and spoiling junior footy.
Associations have been told they must abide by the code if they are to be in line for funding and grants from Sport and Recreation Victoria.
Echuca Police Acting Sergeant Jasmine Gregor said the code’s introduction won’t change much locally, as off-field behaviour here isn’t a problem.
“Police haven’t been called to a junior football match for bad behaviour or for an assault any time recently, certainly not in the past couple of years,” Sgt Gregor said.
Echuca Football Netball Club president Ash Byrne said the concept of the code was good.
“I’d be happy to get on board with it. You do get some who go overboard, just verbally, towards umpires and players,” she said.
“We spoke recently at a committee level to minimise it occurring, hopefully in time it won’t happen but for the moment it can be difficult to police,” he said.
Echuca has never had to involve police in dealing with poor behaviour. Byrne said parents sign a code of conduct before their child sets foot on the park, stating they will behave on the sidelines.
Echuca United Football Netball Club president Lucas Walker said he too would back the proposal.
“Yes absolutely. Some parents can go overboard and have a ‘win at all costs’ attitude and it’s easy to forget it’s about fun, and learning how to be a good winner and loser,” he said.
“It’s a pretty ugly look when some parents don’t get it right. You see some people can’t resist the temptation of yelling at the umpires. It’s good to have rules in place whether internal or external,” he said.
United has never imposed a ban, but Walker agreed it was a great initiative and looked forward to making footy safer.
Moama Football Netball Club president David Grubb said parents and coaches “have a handbook” spelling out rules and expected sideline behaviour.
“We make sure we do that and have it (sent) to all parents and players with expectations on behaviour, and sometimes we give certain parents the opportunity to refer back to that.
“Some get over excited and we just subtly refer them back to the handbook. And 99 per cent of the time they’ll come back and say ‘sorry, I was a bit fired up’,’’ he said.