NEWS: Commission set out referee guidelines for indiscipline

British Cycling wrote to all clubs a few days ago on behalf of the Cycle Speedway commission, outlining protocol for referees to follow, should any verbal or physical abuse occur at a meeting in future.

Chairman of the Commission, Graham Elliott, highlighted the need to clamp down on ugly behaviour in his open letter to Cycle Speedway members earlier this week. These guidelines should give clubs, referees, spectators and riders alike a clear picture of how this new zero-tolerance approach will be addressed.

The letter reads:

Open letter to all Cycle Speedway Clubs

Many of you will have witnessed the disgraceful scenes at the Indoor Championships. For too long officials in cycle speedway have had to deal with abuse of both the verbal and physical kind. It has proved incredibly hard for the sport to deal with this, and despite many attempts the problem continues.

The commission feel that the culture of indiscipline is a critical issue for the survival of the sport, and that we need to deal with it urgently.

For this reason, in 2015, we will be viewing the provision of a safe working environment for appointed officials as a basic fundamental for all matches. This will be introduced as an item on match risk assessments for those who fail in their duty to do so. The commission will not appoint officials to cover matches at clubs where discipline is a problem until such time as the club concerned has provided the commission with evidence of an acceptable risk reduction program.

We do not want to penalise clubs, and recognise that many are well run and well behaved, and therefore we only intend to apply this where a risk is perceived to exist. It is the responsibility of the key officials of the CS Clubs themselves to therefore ensure that they have strategies in place to manage their riders.

All match officials are entitled to be treated with respect at all times. They should not have to tolerate foul or abusive language, or any form of threat or intimidation.

With immediate effect all match officials are instructed to act as follows:

If they are exposed to either verbal or physical abuse, they will advise the organising club that they will not tolerate it and if it continues the match will be abandoned.

If they have to do this, they will suspend the match to allow the club time to take appropriate steps to rectify the situation. While they do so they will leave the area to allow time for the club to sort the situation out.

If the problem reoccurs they will repeat process once, but at this point warn the club that the if it happens again the match will be abandoned. If it does then reoccur, the match will be abandoned without further notice. No arguments, no discussion, they will just walk away.

This action will be reported on the officials match report form. Apart from any other disciplinary measures which might be taken, the commission will then write to the club for an explanation, and ask that the safety of officials be added to their match risk assessments from then on. The club will be required to provide the commission with a detailed risk reduction plan before further matches will be sanctioned by the appointment of an official.