Grassroots Football

Dealing with Complaints and Discipline issues at your Club

No matter how well a club is run there is always the possibility of having to Deal with Complaints and Discipline issues at a Club.

Dealing with issues of poor practice or misconduct from volunteers or parents/spectators can seem somewhat daunting at first however by following a clear process as outlined below such matters can be dealt with both efficiently and appropriately
Outline of Action relating to Poor Practice and Misconduct
Where parents/carers, spectators, players, coaches or club officials are seen to have possibly acted inappropriately and a complaint is made, a Club will need to follow a clear process.

The general process for dealing with a case and deciding what to do, which may include issuing a sanction, is basically as follows:-
Where a complaint is made to the club:
• The person making the complaint must put their complaint in writing and send it to the Club Secretary 
(Note - if the complaint is about the conduct of the Club Secretary, the letter should be sent to either the Chairman or Welfare Officer)
• The letter of complaint will be sent to the person the complaint is about. The Club must ask the person complaining for permission to share their letter of complaint with the person who is the subject of the complaint. Such permission should also be given in writing.
• A letter will then need to be sent by the Club to the person who is subject of the complaint outlining the concerns that have been raised and including a copy of the complainant’s letter (latter to have any contact details removed prior to forwarding on)

• The Club letter should specify that it requires a written reply from the person who is the subject of the complaint, within seven days. If the matter can be subsequently closed following exchange of letters that is fine; however, if not, then the club will invite both parties to a Committee Meeting to deal with the matter.

• Club letters to both complainant and the person who is subject of the complaint should indicate the date/time/venue of the Committee Meeting and give at least 14 days notice of it so that the parties concerned can make arrangements to attend should they wish to do so. The Club letter must also advise that if they do not attend the matter will be dealt with in their absence.
• The Committee dealing with the complaint would ideally consist of 3-5 Officials from the Club and they must NOT include anyone directly named or involved in the original complaint; or, who has a vested interest in the outcome. 
• The Committee members will need copies of all relevant paperwork in advance of the hearing so that they can read it and be fully aware of the complaint and response. 
• At the Committee Meeting a verbal outline of the complaint will be given through the Secretary and the Committee would then hear from the person who made the complaint and the person who is the subject of the complaint. The Chair of the committee would then ask any questions deemed appropriate to challenge or clarify what had been written or said. Any questions between the parties will be communicated through the Committee Chair.
• The person the complaint is about will be asked to sum up; and then the person who has made the complaint will do the same. They will then be asked to leave the room to allow the Committee to deliberate and reach a decision.
•  After a decision is reached, both parties would then be asked back into the room and given the decision which will be binding (and followed up in writing); or alternatively, both parties would leave the meeting altogether after being informed that the club would advise of the decision in writing.
Where the Committee find that the complaint is upheld/proven there are a number of sanctions available. Sanctions are incorporated into the Respect Codes of Conduct which all members at the club should have signed up to at the beginning of every season.