Verbal Abuse | An open letter to the football family

Dear Football Family

One of the main challenges facing our sport is the ongoing inappropriate behaviour that is being displayed at games. There has been a substantial increase in the number of reports that Football Federation SA Competition Staff have received in relation to verbal abuse being directed mainly at Referees but also towards other participants.

As we know Referees are an essential part of the game and like coaches and players, they will not get every decision correct and will make mistakes. Verbally abusing, intimidating or threatening a Referee because they have made a mistake is not an acceptable reason and cannot be tolerated.

Abusing any participant is a form of bullying and should not be experienced by anyone.

Everyone involved in the sport has a collective responsibility to provide a safe environment for all participants and to reinforce that inappropriate behaviour of any kind towards any participant will not be tolerated. The ongoing abuse that is being reported to Football Federation SA is having a negative impact with some young Referees being reduced to tears during a sport that they are supposed to love.

FFSA is issuing a directive to everyone involved in the game that all forms of abuse must be stopped and that the leaders within our clubs and associations must stand up and implement a zero tolerance to such behaviour.

It must be noted that both the Competition Disciplinary Committee (CDC) and the Disciplinary and Appeal Committee (DAC) have been instructed to implement the strongest penalties in relation to any form of abuse.

We seek your support in addressing this important matter for the benefit of Football in South Australia. 

Kind regards, 

Football Federation SA