We first published this article mid-May, 2015. Perhaps it’s that time of the season whereby we become a little less cautious in our social media commentary. Stay onside.
Dear clubs, players, volunteers and supporters,
Over recent years the rise of social media has provided a great opportunity for all of us to indulge in our love of football with other like-minded people. Through various channels (Facebook, Twitter, online forums and chat rooms) social media give football fans a wide variety of options to shoot the breeze about the greatest game in the world.
That means we get to share the fun stuff, but also vent our frustrations. That’s fine, but it’s important to remember that when we’re shooting the breeze, it’s in a public forum and visible to all. People on social media should treat every conversation as public.
Everyone can see it and comments made about other people, about other clubs or about match officials can be damaging and hurtful.
Consequently, we’ve all got to take responsibility for our statements and ensure that they don’t do damage to the game of football.
As a member of ESFA, your club is required to comply with the ESFA Constitution and FFA and FNSW regulations. The effect of these documents is to prohibit members (and players):
- from making public statements that are disparaging of match officials;
- from using social media that contains or links to libellous, defamatory or harassing conduct; and
- from bringing the game into disrepute.
Failure to comply with these directions direction may result in disciplinary proceedings.
There are appropriate channels to address issues with competitions, referees, other clubs or players.
If you’re just blowing off steam, make sure you’re being responsible with your comments. If you have feedback or suggestions, get in touch with your club to make sure that your message gets to the appropriate person in an appropriate way.
If you're responsible and considerate, you'll always be onside.