Ground control to unruly parents

A FEW years ago North Coast Football took steps to control unruly behaviour at junior soccer grounds.

North Coast Football implemented a system whereby the home club is required to provide a ground controller, whose job it is to monitor crowd and player behaviour.

“If there’s any issues people have at the ground they go and see that person (the ground controller) first and ask them to deal with it,” North Coast Football Referees Association secretary David Anderson said.

“Also, if the referee has a concern with a parent on the sideline he might certainly go and ask that person (the ground controller) first to deal with that person from there.”

If the ground controller is unsuccessful in calming a rowdy person, the next step is a call to the police.

“There has been incidents where we’ve asked people to do things, and there have been times when the police have been called.

“I can’t quote specific examples, but that has happened.”

Mr Anderson said for all intents and purposes the ground controller concept had worked.

“Generally yes (the system has been effective), but the biggest problem is getting someone to wear the vest,” Mr Anderson said.

“Who wants to go up and front an unruly parent?”

“Most people in life avoid confrontation. To go up and front someone and say ‘hey mate, settle down a bit’, that’s a hard thing for a lot of people to do.

“Some people can’t do it.”

North Coast Football operations manager Bob Harris said the safety of ground controllers was paramount.

“We advise all our ground controllers that if there is a volatile situation to contact police immediately. We have to ensure they’re safe,” Mr Harris said.



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