This guidance has been developed in order to help all Club members (senior or junior), volunteers, coaches, helpers and supporters to make informed decisions about how they use the internet, mobile phone and email communications when discussing any Club related activity.
This includes all social media (including personal and Club websites, blogs, chat rooms and bulletin boards; social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace; video-sharing sites such as YouTube; and e-mail). It is very easy to post comments that may on the face of it seem harmless, but can cause problems for the Club and potentially the person posting the comments.
These guidelines are simply that – guidelines, not a precise set of rules and regulations about what may or may not be posted. Individuals must use common sense when posting, whether it is via an official Club channel or on their own social networking sites, and not bring the Club into disrepute or contravene the existing codes of conduct or the law of the land.
Social media is a seemingly informal method of communication, but it does not mean that posters cannot be held in breach of Club regulations (in which case disciplinary action may be taken), or the law, in which case the poster can be held individually responsible and subject to prosecution.
Everyone involved in the Club must recognise that the responsibility to safeguard the good image of the Club exists both on and off the field of play. Coaches, club officials, volunteers and others in a position of trust in the Club need to act responsibly at all times, and this includes the use of electronic communications.
Anyone posting comments that relate in any way to the business of the Club, its members, supporters, opponents, umpires etc. must follow the following guidelines:
- Refrain from publishing potentially inflammatory comments about other clubs, players or referees and any controversial subjects.
- Avoid hostile or harassing communications in any posts or other online communications. Harassment is any offensive conduct based on a person`s race, sex, gender identity, national origin, colour, disability, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status, religion or any other status liable to cause offence.
- A good way of determining whether something is fit to post is this – could you say it face-to-face without causing offence? If the answer is no, then it shouldn’t be posted online.
- Posters should identify all copyrighted or borrowed material with citations and links. When publishing direct paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos or videos, give credit to the original publisher or author.
- In keeping with the family image of the Club it is expected that posts relating to activities such as drinking and gambling remain appropriate. Whilst the Club is keen to retain its reputation as a highly sociable club – and of course activities such as the beer festival, social and race nights are an important part of our social calendar – it is not in the interests of all concerned to glamorise excess in any form. This is especially relevant where junior members form part of the audience.
The Club will:
- Monitor its own media channels for comments and behaviours that contravene the above guidelines. Should any concerns arise the Club will remove any potentially inflammatory comments and retains the right to discipline the poster, should he or she be a member of the Club.
- Respond to any inaccurate, inflammatory or negative comment about the Club or anyone associated with the Club. Any such posts/comments will be discussed by the Club Committee (or at the very least the senior officials of the Club), and responded to accordingly. Individuals should not respond on behalf of the Club and are requested to bring any issues to the attention of a senior Club official.
- It is important to note that the Club will monitor its own social networking pages only. Any comments made on an individual’s social networking page remain the responsibility of the poster, and the Club will accept no liability for those comments, nor any actions taken as a result.
- These guidelines are not meant to stifle good-natured banter, hinder communications, or stop people chatting online. However, we must be aware that one man’s jokey comment is another man’s insult, so we need to be careful. If you are in any doubt as to whether something is fit to post, please talk to a senior Club official for advice.