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RISK MANAGEMENT & INSURANCE

Ensuring a safe environment for all club members and stakeholders.

Risk management is the process of identifying a risk and putting in place strategies to minimise or eliminate the risk. 

Risk management is not a complicated process and will protect the club and its members against the following risks: 

  • Financial and asset risks 
  • Governance risks 
  • Brand/reputation risks 
  • Member and public health and safety risks 

There are four steps in the risk management process. 

  • Identify the risk: Identify what, why and how things can arise 
  • Analyse the risk: consider the consequence and likelihood of the risk in the current environment. Consequence and likelihood may be combined to produce an estimated level of risk. 
  • Evaluate the risk: using the estimated level of risk, evaluate the level of risk. If the levels of the risk are low, then it may not need action beyond its current controls. 
  • Treat the risk: put measures in place to ensure the risk has a minimal impact or is eliminated. Please note that some risks won’t be eliminated due to their nature. 

The AFL recommend that clubs complete the “Marsh: Club Risk Standards” process which focuses on “Footy Risks”, “Club Risks” and “Committee Risks” 

This process can assist in developing a club Risk Register. Whilst good to complete, it must be followed up with regular monitoring & reviewing (ideally monthly however at least 2-3 times per year) with agreed action documented and discussed at Committee level. 

Risksfor the club & committee include financial, physical and reputation risks. Whilst no two clubs are the same, some of the common risks faced by grassroots football clubs can include: 

Alcohol-fueled Incidents

While most people drink responsibly, grassroots sporting clubs that sell or allow consumer of alcohol at matches or events have a duty to take reasonable care to help prevent alcohol related incidents. The club can take a number of steps to help protect the club against damages that alcohol can cause and to allow the club to promote itself as a club that proactively addresses good behavior when it comes to Alcohol management.  

The AFL strongly recommend clubs consider the Good Sports Program to access a range of relevant resources and tips. 

Poor at match (or social event) behaviour

Clubs will have a reputation when it comes to behaviour – whether this be on-field or off-field from officials or spectators. This may be definite between certain teams within the club and may be different between home or away matches. This may escalate during higher stakes games – against rival towns/suburbs or especially during finals. 

A poor reputation will be a burden for the club when it comes to retaining the ‘right’ people at the club and will ultimately lead to greater challenges to meet sustained success. If poor / anti-social behaviour at the club was ‘tolerated’ by many in previous generations, it is not acceptable now. String leadership now will help set the club up for future success. 

Clubs should regularly promote the message that poor behaviour is not tolerated. This can be done via signage at the ground, PA announcements during game days, website and social media posts and mention of expectations at all club events.  

Appointing a Ground Manager is also critical. Ground Managers play a large role when it comes to controlling poor sideline behaviour. Make sure your Ground Managers are clearly identifiable on game days, are educated on what to do if a situation occurs and are confident in managing poor behaviour. Given how important this position is, the club may consider paying a small honorarium to get the right person in the role if a volunteer can’t be sourced. 

Leagues should implement a strong position regarding at match behavior. This would come in the form of education, penalties for repeated poor behaviour and rewards for consistent good behaviour – e.g. Best Conducted Club. (Perhaps a local sponsor would like to sponsor such an award?) 

Check out the Codes of Conduct section for ideas about implementing Codes and check out the Managing Conflict section for more help in dealing with poor behaviour at the club.

Each State and Territory Association directly affiliated to the AFL and their Affiliations, Associations and Clubs have a certain level of insurance coverage under the Australian Football National Risk Protection Program which provides cover for: 

  • Public liability (coverage for 3rd party personal  claims against the club) 
  • Club Management Liability (coverage for financial risks of the club / committee) 
  • Asset protection (base level property contents cover – ex SA/NT) 
  • Personal injury insurance (cover for participant and volunteer injury claims with 4 options available for clubs – bronze, silver gold or platinum) 
  • Quadriplegia & paraplegia events up to $1 million 

Action required: All clubs need to register online at the Marsh Sport Website and complete the Risk Management module each year to obtain their Public Liability insurance Certificate of Currency. In addition, clubs should review the information, forms and documents on the Marsh website (and recommend that the Club’s participants also review this information) to consider any additional insurance needs in respect of upgrading: 

  • The Club’s Personal Injury level of cover (4 options to help cover costs associated with the injuries to players & volunteers); 
  • The level of cover for Loss of Income for its players; and 
  • Asset Protect level of coverage (coverage for your club contents & assets) 

For more information on the Australian Football National Risk Protection Program, including forms & documents, how to upgrade your coverage, how to make a claim, FAQs, contact details etc. visit the Marsh Sport Website (National Risk Protection Program). 

Codes of conduct set a standard of behaviour that help build a club’s culture and make it easier to deal with conduct and behaviour issues as they arise. 

Codes of conduct set expectations for everyone involved – from the administrators, coaches and officials, to players, parents and spectators. They should be clear, simple and promoted widely to help keep the club & its members on track to have in place a quality culture 

Your state/territory may have established a Code of Conduct within the competition regulations or policies however clubs are encouraged to implement a Club Code of Conduct. 

Examples of Code of Conducts can be found below. 

Once created, there are several ways you can make members aware and bring your code of conduct to life: 

  • Have members sign a copy when they register 
  • Put them up around your venue, where possible 
  • Make them a part of inductions & remind people of expectations before events / meetings 
  • Put them in newsletters, on your website and in club correspondence – and explain what they mean 
  • Train members in important behaviour-based topics like child protection, harassment, discrimination 
  • Highlight examples of good behavior examples and poor behavior examples within your club that your members would relate to