The Ulster Hockey Disciplinary Committee is reporting a marked increase in Code of Conduct (CoC) cases. The committee has recently convened to consider incidents at club matches where the unacceptable behaviour of participants towards umpires and officials has resulted in significant fines and other sanctions being issued. In the hope of deterring such behaviour in the future, the Ulster Hockey Board has asked for this message to be shared.
The Board are particularly concerned that this misconduct is having an adverse impact on the recruitment and retention of umpires; is tarnishing the image of our sport, especially as Ulster Hockey have invested significant time and energy into promoting the game as a family orientated activity, for young and old; and, if left unchecked, there is a risk that such behaviour could become a commonplace occurrence that has blighted so many other sports.
The Board have asked for this message to:
- Emphasise that Ulster Hockey has a ‘zero’ tolerance towards any participant or club who are found to have breached the CoC. Such behaviour is likely to result in an increased range of sanctions being imposed on participants and clubs.
- Stress that Ulster Hockey cannot improve the behaviour of participants alone and depend on clubs, players, coaches, officials and the wider ‘hockey family’ to pro-actively promote Ulster Hockey’s CoC and challenge participants when their behaviour falls below the standards expected; and
- Highlight that there will be an internal review of the current Ulster Hockey CoC, consulting with clubs, coaches, officials, and other stakeholders with a view to strengthening and clarifying the current policy. It is hoped that we can publish the updated policy before the end of the season.
This is an exciting time for Ulster Hockey – new sponsorship deals have been secured for the Ladies Premier League and school competitions. We are working hard to secure even more sponsorship for the Men’s game; the review of Competitive Hockey, focussed on improving our product and player experience, is well underway; and we are seeing the development of a younger and more skilled workforce of Umpires and volunteers emanating from our Young Leaders and Young Umpires programme.
Unfortunately, there is potential that we could allow our steady progress, and these positive developments, to be impacted negatively by the poor behaviour of the few, to impact on the many.
Ulster Hockey would be grateful if you could bring this message to the attention of all club members, emphasising that everyone has a role to play both in setting an example, and challenging those who act contrary to the CoC.
 is defined as a player, coach, manager, umpire, official, volunteer or spectator involved in the sport of Hockey under the jurisdiction of Ulster Hockey