Code of Conduct - Officials
As a responsible technical official you will:
As a responsible Technical Official, when participating in or attending any athletics activities, including training/coaching sessions and competition events you will:
- Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every athlete and others involved in athletics and treat everyone equally.
- Place the welfare and safety of the athlete above the development of performance
- Be appropriately qualified including obtaining DBS/Disclosure Scotland or Access NI clearance, update your licence and education as and when required by UKA and adhere to the terms of the technical officials licence
- Keep up to date with any changes in the relevant competition rules and seek the advice of others if necessary
- Ensure that activities you direct or guide are appropriate for the age, maturity, experience and ability of the individual athlete
- At the outset clarify with athletes (and where appropriate, with parents or carers) exactly what it is that is expected of them and what athletes are entitled to expect from you
- Cooperate fully with others involved in the sport such as other technical officials, competition providers/organisers, team managers, coaches, and representatives of the governing body in the provision of fair and equitable conditions for the conduct of athletics events under the relevant rules of competition.
- Act in a decisive, objective but friendly manner in your interaction with other officials, athletes, coaches and spectators and carry out your duties in an efficient and nonabrasive manner.
- Consistently promote positive aspects of the sport such as fair play and never condone rule violations or the use of prohibited or age-inappropriate substances
- Never smoke whilst officiating or consume alcoholic beverages to a degree that it affects your ability or competence to undertake your officiating duties.
- Be fully prepared for the officiating task that is assigned to you
- Dress appropriately, to the standard and nature of the competition as outlined by the relevant officials committee
- Arrive in good time for the competition and report to the official in charge
- Conduct the event in accordance with the rules and with due respect to the welfare of the athlete
- Work in a spirit of cooperation with other officials and do not interfere with their responsibilities
- Offer guidance and support to less experienced officials whenever appropriate
- Encourage and guide athletes to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour
- Develop appropriate working relationships with athletes based on mutual trust and respect, especially with those athletes under 18 years or with vulnerable adults
- Do not exert undue influence to obtain personal benefit or reward
- A Technical Official MUST strictly maintain a clear boundary between friendship and intimacy with athletes and do not conduct inappropriate relationships with athletes.
- Relationship with athletes can cause significant problems for other athletes, coaches and team members, raising concerns of favouritism and/or victimisation should the relationship later end.
- In particular, you MUST NOT allow an intimate personal relationship to develop between yourself and any athlete aged under 18 years. Any violation of this could result in a technical official’s licence being withdrawn. It may also be a criminal offence to conduct a relationship with an athlete aged under 16 years. It may also be a violation of your technical officials licence to form an intimate personal relationship with a vulnerable adult judged/officiated by you
- It is also strongly recommended that you do not allow intimate relationships to develop between yourself and athletes judged by you aged over 18 years.
- Act with dignity and display courtesy and good manners towards others
- Avoid swearing and abusive language and irresponsible behaviour including behaviour that is dangerous to yourself or others, acts of violence, bullying, harassment and physical and sexual abuse
- Challenge inappropriate behaviour and language by others
- Never engage in any inappropriate or illegal behaviour
- Avoid destructive behaviour and leave athletics venues as you find them
- Not carry or consume alcohol to excess and/or illegal substances.
- Avoid carrying any items that could be dangerous to yourself or others excluding athletics equipment used in the course of your athletics activity
- In addition, technical officials should follow these guidelines on best practice, in particular with young athletes or vulnerable adults
- Avoid critical language or actions, such as sarcasm which could undermine an athlete’s self-esteem.
- Avoid spending time alone with young athletes unless clearly in the view of others
- Avoid taking young athletes alone in your car
- Never invite a young athlete alone into your home
- Never share a bedroom with a child
- Always explain why and ask for consent before touching an athlete
- Ensure that parents/carers know and have given consent before taking a young athlete away from the usual training venue
- Work in same-sex pairs if supervising changing areas
- Respect the right of young athletes to an independent life outside of athletics
- Report any accidental injury, distress, misunderstanding or misinterpretation to the parents/carers and Club/Regional/National or UKA Welfare officer as soon as possible.
- Report any suspected misconduct by other technical officials, coaches or other people involved in athletics to the Club, Regional, National or UKA welfare officer as soon as possible.
Sound or moving images
- At meetings where they have responsibility for the appointed Technical Officials, UKA and the Home Countries have no objections to officials posting updates on Social Media sites during events whilst at all times using common sense.
- These posts must be in the first person, reflecting their own personal opinion or views and related to their own personal experience.
- Technical Officials must not assume the role of a journalist, reporter or any other media capacity.
- Postings should be polite, courteous, and respectful in their messages to others and should not use obscene, profane, vulgar, sexually explicit, defamatory, or abusive language.
- Posts must not disclose any confidential or private information in relation to any third party including, but without limitation to, information which may compromise the security, staging and organisation of events particularly at national level events and, where relevant, the Technical Officials respective team or the privacy of any other Technical Official.
Any video/audio of this type must be for personal use only and not uploaded to any online platforms whether on a live or delayed basis.
UKA and the Home Countries are happy for Technical Officials to upload images from inside and outside the venues for personal use. It is not permitted to commercialise, sell or otherwise distribute these photographs. If other persons are featured in still pictures, their consent to publish the picture should be obtained. Such pictures must not infringe on a person’s confidentiality or bring UKA and the Home Countries into disrepute. They must also not compromise the security of the event, venue or an individual.
Technical Officials must not take still or moving pictures of athletes, other than those authorised by UKA or event management, whilst in back-of-house areas of any competition venues, including, but not limited to, warm up areas, locker rooms, call rooms , and field of play mixed zone or presentation waiting areas. This includes photographs of athletes with their knowledge and consent.
Autographs and souvenirs
UKA Technical Officials enjoy a privileged position in being able to work with an assist athletes at all levels and stages in their careers. There has to be therefore a degree of professional distance between athletes and officials. Whilst acting as a technical official you must not seek autographs from athletes or ask for souvenirs either for yourself or a third party. This includes the signing of memorabilia and personal clothing. Officials must not without authority remove items of equipment as souvenirs from events.
It is brought to your attention that, when Technical Officials choose to go public with their opinions on a Social Media platform they are responsible for their commentary. Social Media users can be held personally liable for any commentary deemed to be defamatory, obscene or proprietary. In essence, Social Media users post their content at their own risk and they should make it clear that the views expressed are their own.
Reviewed by UKA Sept 2016