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(a) This Code of Ethics was written with specific reference to Coaches of under aged. However, most aspects of this code are also applicable to people involved in the game.
Therefore, all officials, other players, and parents/guardians should be aware that this Code also applies to them.

(b) For the purposes of clarification the term "Official" will be used in this document, to mean all adults with either supervisory, coaching or management responsibility for players. The purpose in this document is to provide guidelines for the behaviour of adults who are responsible either in a club or representative team capacity.

(c) This Code is part of the F.A.I.'s policy on Child Protection and is to be read in conjunction with the Irish Government's "Code of Ethics" and Good Practice in Children's Sport. Adherence to these guidelines is intended to protect officials, coaches and under age players.

All clubs under the auspices of the F.A.I. are required to have an annual induction with regard to adopted child protection procedures and policies. This would consist of all club officials being familiar with and agreeing with the stated policy.COACHING AND INSTRUCTION

(a) Even though the Coaching Manuals standards focus on and describe work functions, they are based on a number of accepted assumptions and values which underpin good practice in coaching and instructing. Throughout the following Code the expression "Coach" whether used in the singular or the plural shall include all teachers/coaches, assistants and other helpers whose activities are connected with the disciplines regulated by the F.A.I. Where the context of the Code admits the expression Coach this may also include Officials.

(b) The purpose of the Code of Ethics (referred to throughout the remainder of the document as the Code) is to establish and maintain standards for Coaches and to inform and protect members of the public using their services. Ethical standards comprise such values as integrity, responsibility, competence and confidentiality.

The Code creates a framework within which coaches of under-aged, when engaged in coaching in the fullest sense of the expression - should always work. The Code has been written as a series of guidelines rather than a set of instructions. However, violations of the Code may result in complaints being made to the F.A.I. and in which case, in determining whether a conduct complained of has brought the sport into disrepute or amounts to a violation of the F.A.I. Law will consider the Code's provision when assessing the guilt of individuals against whom complaints have been made the appropriate sanctions to apply.


(a) Coaches should communicate and co-operate with other sports and allied professions in the best interest of their players. An example of such contact would be the seeking of education and career advice/counselling for young players whose training impinges upon the performance of their studies.

(b) Coaches must communicate and co-operate with medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their player’s medical and psychological problems.


(a) Advertising by Coaches in respect of qualifications services shall be accurate and professionally restrained.

Coaches shall not display any affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or accreditation by that organisation.


(a) Coaches should refrain from public criticism of fellow Coaches. Differences of opinion should be dealt with on a personal basis and more serious disputes should be referred to the League or to the F.A.I. of individuals against whom complaints have been made the appropriate sanctions to apply.


(a) It is the responsibility of individual leagues and clubs to ensure that parents, players, coaches and all members are familiar with and agree with the underlying principles embodied in this Code of Ethics as the welfare and protection of our underage players is the priority.

(b) Coaching is a deliberately undertaken responsibility, and coaches are responsible for the observation of the principle embodied in the Code of Ethics.

(e) It's the responsibility of the coach to attain a coaching qualification.

(d) It is the club's responsibility to have all their coaches qualified to the appropriate level.


(a) Coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every human being and their ultimate right to self-determination. Specifically, teachers/coaches must treat everyone equally within the context of their activity, regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion or political persuasion.


(a) The good Coach will be concerned primarily with the well being, health and future of the individual Player and only secondarily with the optimising of performance.

(b) A key element in a Coach Player relationship is the development of independence of the Player.

(c) Players must be encouraged to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance in training, in competition, and in their social life.

(d) The relationship between Coach and Player relies heavily on mutual trust and respect

(e) In detail this means that the Player should be aware of the Coaches' qualifications and experience and must be given the opportunity to consent to or decline proposals for training and performance.

(f) Coaches must not encourage Players to violate the Laws of the Game and should actively seek to discourage such action. Furthermore, Coaches should encourage Players to obey the spirit of such Laws.

(g) Coaches must not compromise their Players by advocating measures, which could be deemed to constitute seeking to gain an unfair advantage.

(h) Above ail, coaches must never advocate the use of prescribed drugs or other banned performance enhancing substances.

(i) Coaches must treat opponents and officials with due respect, both in victory and defeat and should encourage their Players to act in a similar manner.

(j) Coaches must accept responsibility for the conduct of their Players insofar as they will undertake to discourage inappropriate behaviour.


(a) Coaches inevitably gather a great deal of personal information about Players in the course of a working relationship. Coach and Players must reach agreement as to what is regarded as confidential information i.e. not divulged to a third party without the express approval of the Player.

(b) Confidentiality does not preclude the disclosure of information, to persons who can be judged to have a "right to know", relating to Players when relevant to the following:

  • Evaluation of the Player for competitive selection purposes.
  • Pursuit of disciplinary action involving Players
  • Pursuit of disciplinary action by the F.A.I. or statutory bodies involving fellow coaches in alleged breaches of this Code of Ethics and conduct.


A Coach must not attempt to exert undue influence over the player's performance in order to obtain personal benefit or reward.


(a) Coaches are given a position of trust by parents and players, and are therefore expected to show the highest standards of behaviour while in the company of under age players.

(b) The Coach must consistently display high personal standards and project a favourable image of the game and of Coaching - to other Players, Coaches, officials, spectators, the media and the general public.

(c) Personal appearance is a matter of individual taste but the Coach has an obligation to project an image of health, cleanliness and functional efficiency.

(d) Coaches should not drink alcohol so soon before coaching that their judgement may be impaired and the smell of alcohol will still be on their breath when working with Players.

(e) Under no circumstances should young players be in the proximity of alcohol irrespective of the occasion

(f) As persons responsible for the well being of young people, it is inappropriate to smoke in their presence or to behave in any fashion inconsistent with your position of responsibility.


(a) Coaches have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the players with whom they work as far as possible within the limits of their control.

(b) All reasonable steps should be taken to establish a safe working environment.

(c) The work done and the manner in which it is done should be in keeping with regular and approved practice within the game:

(d) The activity being undertaken should be suitable for the age, experience and ability of the Players

(e) Players should have been systematically prepared for the activity being undertaken and made aware of their personal responsibilities in terms of safety.

(f) Coaches who use their own vehicles to transport players must ensure that they have adequate insurance cover and be careful not to carry more than the permitted number of passengers.


(a) All sports leaders should have an appropriate background and competence. Specifically in relation to coaches, it is recommended that they should hold Level 1 qualifications (National Coaching Development Programme).

(b) Coaches shall confine themselves to practice in those fields of coaching in which they have been trained/educated, and which are recognised by the F.A.I. as being valid. Valid areas of expertise are those directly concerned with Soccer coaching. Training includes the accumulation of knowledge and skills through both formal Coach education courses and by experience at a level of competence acceptable for coaching practice.

(c) Coaches should regularly seek ways of increasing their professional development and self-awareness.

(d) Coaches should welcome evaluation of their work from colleagues and be able to account to Players, Clubs, Leagues and the F.A.I. and colleagues for their actions.

(e) Coaches have a responsibility to themselves and their Players to maintain their own effectiveness resilience and abilities, and to know when their personal resources are so depleted as to make it necessary for them to seek help withdraw from Coaching whether temporarily or permanently.


(a) Coaches are responsible for setting. and monitoring the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with their players. This is particularly important when the coach and players are of opposite sex when the player is a young person.

(b) The coach must realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted, not only by the player, but by outsiders motivated by jealousy, dislike or mistrust and could lead to allegations of sexual misconduct or impropriety.

(d) The coach will on occasion be required to travel and reside with players in the course of coaching and competitive matches. On such occasions, ensure separate sleeping accommodation for Officials and Players.

(e) Where the team is composed of both genders, there should be a male and female Official present.

(f) The Coach should never be alone in a room or similar (car for example) with a Player. Where this is unavoidable, leave the door open and be within earshot of others.

(g) Besides necessary manipulation of limbs in teaching technique, physical contact is not appropriate.

(h) Physical contact for testing or paramedical purposes must only be done in public and should be appropriate in nature. Any doubts of a medical nature should be passed on to a suitably qualified medical person.

(i) Physical relationships with under-age players are illegal.(J) Officials should avoid situations where they are alone with young players in changing rooms. Wherever practicable, there should always be two or more adults in changing rooms.

(k) The use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco should be actively discouraged as being incompatible with a healthy approach to the playing of the game.

(l) Coaches should be aware of the illegality of prescribed drugs or other banned performance enhancing substances.

(m) Coaches should strive to eliminate unfair practices, including the use of drugs, which effect performance.


(a) The protection of under-age players from any form of abuse must be a priority for all those involved in Soccer.

(b) If under age players are at risk of harm, it is the duty of those in a position of responsibility to take immediate steps to remove the risk and to ensure that all necessary procedures are undertaken in accordance with statutory guidelines.

(c) The detection and prevention of child abuse depends on the co-operation of all concerned. The following points are central to the success of this effort:

• Knowledge of the behavioural and physical indicators of various forms of abuse;

• Knowledge of the appropriate action and response to be taken when abuse is revealed or detected;

• Vigilance and avoidance of all situations conducive to risk;

• Open, trusting and co-operative relationships within the Club and with parents/guardians and others concerned with children's progress or welfare.

(d) Child abuse may be divided into four categories, which have been defined as follows:

  • Physical abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse

(e) Officials involved with under age soccer should be aware of the signs and types of child abuse as set out in the "Code of Ethics and Good Practice for Children's Sport".

(f) All child protection policies and procedures should be regularly reviewed and amended as appropriate to ensure the highest standards of welfare are maintained.

All Leagues and Clubs will form a Child Protection Committee comprising of at least three members. Part of their function would be to ensure the implementation of this Code. With this in mind it must be remembered that no club can affiliate to a league without honouring this responsibility.


(a) It is important to remember that reporting suspected child abuse in good faith is not the same as making an accusation of abuse i.e. reporting does not mean accusing.

(b) Responsibility for the investigation of child abuse cases suspected or otherwise, lies with the Health Boards and the Civic Authorities. Responsibility for monitoring and co-ordinating the management of such cases also rests with the Health Boards.

(c) It is not appropriate for individuals, Clubs, or League to carry out internal investigations into cases where child abuse is suspected.

(d) Any person who knows or suspects that a child is being harmed or is at risk of being harmed has a duty to convey his/her concern to the Local Health Authority.

(e) It may be appropriate for a person to discuss concerns they have with another person in the club such as the Children's Liaison Officer, or should the concern relate to this person, then the child protection committee of the club should be notified of the concerns.

(f) The type of discussions referred to in (e) above would most likely happen in cases where no specific allegation of child abuse has been made, but the concern is based on emotional behaviour and/or physical indications of a particular child.

(g) Within a school, concerns relating to child abuse must be reported immediately to the Principal.

(h) In cases where an allegation has been made, then the matter has to be reported immediately to the relevant Statutory Authorities.

(i) Should allegations of a sexual nature be made against a coach he/she should be suspended immediately pending an appropriate investigation.

(j) When matters regarding the safety of other children arise in the Club scenario, it will also be necessary for the child protection committee to be informed of the allegations made, so that suspension of the person against whom the allegations have been made, from activities which involve under age players, may be carried out until the conclusion of an investigation by the Statutory Authorities.

(k) All concerns and allegations made should be carefully recorded. Confidentiality should be maintained at all stages.

(l) In the case of a suspension, the official being suspended should be formally notified by senior personnel within the Club or League.

(m) An Official against whom an allegation of abuse has been made should be informed that this is not an accusation and that the procedures being undertaken are in accordance with statutory guidelines. He or she should be assured that all information will be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner within the Club or League.

(n) The Official should be made aware of the general nature of any allegations made against him/her and of any allegation being made known to the Statutory Authorities.

(o) The Official concerned should be afforded the opportunity to present a formal response to the allegation to senior personnel in the Club or League. From this point onwards the matter should only be dealt with by the Statutory Authorities.

(p) In the case of an allegation of child sexual abuse, it will be necessary to withhold the name of the child and the precise details of the allegation, in the interest of confidentiality and child protection.


(a) Deal with any allegation of abuse in a sensitive and competent manner through listening to and facilitating the child to tell about the problem.

(b) Stay calm and do not show any extreme reaction to what the child is saying and take it seriously

(c) Permit the child to speak without interruption, accepting what is said.

(d) Reassure the child that he/she was right to tell, and that he/she will be helped.

(e) Alleviate feeling of guilt and isolation, while passing no judgement on the person against whom the allegation is made.

(f) False promises should not be made such, as saying no-one else will be told.

(g) Indicate what should happen next, such as informing parents, Child Protection Committee, reporting to statutory authority etc.

Any and all consultations with others should be entirely confidential and should not involve investigative procedures.
Write a detailed account of any discussion regarding alleged or suspected abuse, as soon as possible after the discussion has taken place.Do not trivialise child abuse issues or trivialise or exaggerate what the child has told you.


(a) Should you witness or receive information that leads you to believe that a serious breach of this Code has occurred, in addition to observing the Reporting Procedures defined in paragraph 16, you are required to bring the matter to the attention of the relevant management body, be it Club, or League. No further action is to be taken on your part, and no information is to be provided to others, save as provided below.

(b) If you have evidence of an illegal activity that directly relates to the Game, you are obliged to inform the Gardai or F.A.I. as appropriate and you should notify the Club and the F.A.I. of the fact.

(c) You are not to discuss the matter with persons not already involved except with the express permission of the investigation authorities.

(d) You are required to give every assistance possible to the Gardai, or the Club, or to the appropriate Committee of the F.A.I. in the investigation of the matter, and to assist with any necessary steps being taken by them in relation to the matter.

(e) Should a member of the F.A.I. make or repeat false and malicious allegations against a fellow Coach, they will be liable to disciplinary proceedings deemed appropriate by the F.A.I. Players making malicious and false allegations will also be subject to disciplinary action.

(f) All Clubs affiliated to the F.A.I. are required to furnish all of their members and officials with copies of this Code. Clubs and/or Officials found to be in breach of this Code will be required to provide an explanation to the F.A.I. who, where appropriate will impose disciplinary action.


1.1 Play for enjoyment, not just to please your parents or coach.

1.2 Play by the Laws of the Game

1.3 Always accept the referee's decision.

1.4 Play with control. Do not loose your temper.

1.5 Play for yourself and your team - your team's performance will benefit and so will your own.

1.6 Be a "good sport". Applaud all good play whether by your team or the opponent.

1.7 Respect your opponent. Treat all players, as you would like to be treated. Do not "bully" or take advantage of any player.

1.8 Co-operate with the coach, teammates and opponents.

1.9 Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve your skills, and feel good.

1.10 At the final whistle applaud and thank your opponents and the referee for the match.

1.11 Always remember that your owe a duty of care to your opponents. Tackle hard but fairly; do not intend to hurt your opponent.

1.12 Win with humility - loose with dignity.


2.1 Remember that as a coach of under-age teams you must act in "loco parentis" and to that extent your duty of care is more onerous than that of a coach to an adult team.

2.2. Remember that young people need a coach whom they can respect. Lead by example.

2.3 Be generous with your praise when it is deserved.

2.4 Never ridicule or shout at players for making mistakes or losing a match.

2.5 Teach your players that the Laws of the Game are mutual agreements, which no one should evade or break.

2.6 Be reasonable in your demands on the players' time, energy and enthusiasm. Remember that they have other interests and demands on their time.

2.7 Prepare young players for inter-class and inter-school activities.

2.8 Ensure that all players participate in matches. The "average" players require and deserve equal time.

2.9 Remember that young players play for fun and enjoyment and that skill learning and playing for fun have priority over highly structured competition- Winning is not the only objective.

2.10 Develop player and team respect for the ability of opponents, as well as for the judgement of Referees and opposing coaches.

2.11 Insist on fair play and disciplined play. Do not tolerate foul Play, fighting or foul language. Be prepared to take off an offending player

2.12 Set realistic goals for the team and individual player's and do not push young players into adult like competitions.

2.13 Encourage young players to develop basic skills and sportsmanship. Avoid over specialisation in positional play during their formative years.

2.14 Create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to train and play.

2.15 Do not over-burden younger players with too much information.

2.16 Make a personal commitment to keep yourself informed on sound coaching principles and methods, and on the principles of growth and development of young people.

2.17 Be aware of the effect you have on growing children.

2.18 Never criticise the referee or assistant referee during or after a match in front of players or spectators.

2.19 Always thank the match officials and if they have made decisions which require clarification, discuss the problems after everyone has changed.

2.20 Seek and follow the advice of a doctor in determining when an injured player is ready to play again.

2.21 Ensure that proper equipment and facilities are available at all times

2.22 Ensure that all your players know that bullying whether verbal or physical will not be tolerated.


3.1 Remember, young people are involved in Soccer for their enjoyment, not yours.

3.2 Encourage your child always to play by the Laws of the Game.

3.3 Teach young children that honest endeavour is as important as winning, so that the result of each game is accepted without disappointment.

3.4 Help young people to work towards skill improvement and good sportsmanship.

3.5 Set a good example by applauding good play on both sides.

3.6 Never ridicule, humiliate or shout at young players for making a mistake or losing a match.

3.7 Do not place emphasis on winning at all costs.

3,8 do not force an unwilling child to participate in the playing of soccer. If the child is to play, he/she will do so in good time through your encouragement. There are other aspects of soccer other than playing which are equally fulfilling.

3.9 Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from soccer.

3.10 As a spectator, do not use profane language or harass referees, coaches, or players.

3.11 Do not publicly question the referees' judgement and never their honesty.

3.12 Recognise the value and importance of volunteer referees and coaches. They give of their time and resources to provide recreational activities for young people.

3.13 Encourage in your child an appreciation of mutual respect for team-mates and opponents.


4.1 Remember that although young people play organised soccer they are not miniature Internationals.

4.2 Be on your best behaviour and lead by example.

4.3 Applaud good play by the visiting team as well as your own.4.4 Show respect for your team's opponents. Without them there would not be a match.

4.5 Condemn the use of violence in all forms at every opportunity

4.6 Verbal abuse of players or referees cannot be accepted in any shape or form. Players or referees are not fair targets for ignorant behaviour.

4.7 Encourage young players to play by the Laws of the Game.