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Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport & Media has published its Report on the Elimination of Abuse in Sport directed towards Referees, Officials and Players in Sport

28 Meith 2022, 15.58

The Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport & Media has published its Report on the Elimination of Abuse in Sport directed towards Referees, Officials and Players in Sport – June 2022 in which it makes a series of recommendations following examination of the issue.

Speaking on the report, Deputy Niamh Smyth, Cathaoirleach of the Committee said “There is no place for abusive or discriminatory behaviour in sport. Any verbal, physical, psychological, or online abuse must be denounced. Since the cancellation of several hundred sporting matches in November 2021 on foot of excessive abuse, the Committee has heard evidence of unconscionable actions on and off the field of play. The reputational impact for sport is one crucial issue, but, on yet a more urgent level, the physical and mental well-being of all sportspeople is at stake.”

Deputy Smyth said “Any sporting discipline should provide an equal and welcoming environment to all, and every individual involved has a part to play in shaping the kind of sport that exemplifies inclusion, fair play, and good conduct, and the kind of sport where any form of abusive or discriminatory behaviour is easily reported, denounced, and resolved. Every referee, official, player, coach, and spectator is vital to the process of a culture shift, and, indeed, it is a shift in culture that is required: the Committee has noted an overwhelming number of appeals for such change.”

The Deputy added “The State also has its role. The Committee is of the opinion that current policy initiatives do not go far enough in safeguarding the participation of all in sport. We call for the appropriate authorities to consider the appointment of a centralised Sporting Ombudsman to promote duty of care issues, for the establishment of a working group of key stakeholders to plan and implement a Code of Conduct across sports, for a greater concentration of research efforts to better determine the impact of abuse in Irish sport, and for a change in funding structures to require commitment to anti-abusive and anti-discriminatory action. Crucially, we call on sporting organisations to provide a more appropriate suite of supports for victims of abuse.”

Read the full report:  The Elimination of Abuse Directed Toward Referees, Officials, and Players in Sport – June 2022

The following recommendations were made by the Committee in relation to the topic:

1. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media engage with Sport Ireland and other relevant stakeholders to consider the appointment of a Sport Ombudsman whose remit may extend across all sports in the safeguarding of all participants, and of which the purpose would be to promote the resolution of duty of care issues.

2. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media mandate Sport Ireland to establish a working group of key stakeholders, including referee, official, and player representatives, responsible for the oversight and implementation of a national Code of Conduct across Irish sport.

3. The Committee recommends that, on enactment of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2022, all communications media as currently defined within the Bill, as initiated, are required to have due regard for the principles of such a Code of Conduct across Irish Sport.

4. The Committee recommends the expansion of the Sports Action Plan 2021-2023 to explicitly include a series of anti-discriminatory and anti-abusive actions.

5. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media commission research on abuse and discrimination in the Irish sporting context.

6. The Committee recommends that all sports funding and grants administered for or by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media require funded entities to provide evidence of the adoption of anti-discriminatory and anti-abusive policies.

7. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media engage with Sport Ireland to create a new key performance indicator (KPI) for National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships that measures the provision of training for administrators on the handling of reported instances of abuse.

8. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media engage with Sport Ireland to develop guidance for National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships in respect of appropriate social media policies.

9. The Committee recommends that Sport Ireland provide, in collaboration with National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships, a suite of supports to referees, officials, and players who have received abuse, including psychological and mentoring supports.

10. The Committee recommends that Sport Ireland be charged with the development of, in collaboration with National Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships, training initiatives for referees, officials, and players in sport to recognise and counteract abuse.

11. The Committee recommends that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media engage with Sport Ireland to develop local, nationwide, and social media campaigns that promote the value of officiating, the need for officials, and the need for respect for all those involved in sport at all levels, with consideration for signposting to this effect at sporting venues.

Find out more about the work of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media

 

   

Fiosrúcháin ó na meáin

Stephen Higgins

Tithe an Oireachtais,

Oifigeach Cumarsáide,

Teach Laighean, 

Baile Átha Cliath 2

+353 (0) 1 618 4743

+353 (0) 85 801 3096

stephen.higgins@oireachtas.ie

pressoffice@oireachtas.ie

Twitter: @OireachtasNews

Comhaltas coiste

Teachtaí

Fine Gael

Independent

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin

Niamh Smyth - Cathaoirleach

Fianna Fáil

Seanadóirí

Fianna Fáil

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Labour Party

Sinn Féin

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