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A prevention programme to stop violence in amateur football in Geneva: implementation of measures

The Canton and City of Geneva have announced the introduction of preventive measures issued by the States General concerning violence in amateur football and designed to prevent, as far as possible, all types of violence and incivility in the field.

Etats généraux du sport

Numerous incidents on and off the fields of play have tarnished the image of football in recent years and do not reflect the values that sport in general should convey. It is therefore absolutely essential to support the Association Cantonale Genevoise de Football (ACGF), the clubs, the referees and the operators of municipal sports facilities in order to avoid this scourge as far as possible and to ensure that fair-play once more becomes a core value of the game.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 championships to a premature close, but it did not curb the desire of the cantonal and municipal authorities to combat all forms of violence. Working in partnership with the Association Cantonale Genevoise de Football, the Department of Safety and Sports of the City of Geneva and the Cantonal Department of Social Cohesion were therefore keen to introduce strong preventive measures to combat all forms of incivility, which have no place in any sports facility. The full range of measures will be presented to all clubs in Geneva at the Annual General Meeting of the ACGF on Saturday 16 October 2021.

Six measures

Six measures have already been agreed and will be implemented during the season 2021-2022. (The last three, which still require coordination between all stakeholders, will be introduced at a later date).

Deployed during the season:

  1. Creation of a training module in mediation for coaches: a flagship measure of the prevention programme, this mandatory module provided by the Technical Director of the ACGF, Sébastien Fournier, on mediation and the basic tools is intended for all coaches within the canton (active, veterans, juniors A, B, C), with the first sessions scheduled for November 2021.
  2. Creation of a training course for directors: divided into 4 modules, this training course will begin in spring 2022 and is designed to identify and promote the numerous skills required by club directors.
  3. Creation of positive communication off the pitch: a communication campaign will be implemented from 11 October 2021 (banner around the pitches of the canton, posters in the sports facilities and the street, flyers distributed to clubs, etc.).
  4. Creation of a football observatory: the focal point of the prevention programme which aims to collect all the key information, such as best practices adopted by clubs, statistics, etc.
  5. Creation of an ethics, fair play and good conduct charter to be distributed to all clubs on 16 October (1).
  6. Creation of a post of fair play delegate per club or per match: rather than increasing the volunteer work of the associations by appointing a fair play delegate per club, who would only have very partial overview of the situation, the solution adopted is to enhance the awareness of the home team coach and to make them responsible for this task during each match, with the assistance of specific guidelines. These guidelines will be examined in the training module of measure 1..

To be deployed at a later date:

  • Improved dialogue between referees and clubs: this involves organising regular meetings between the clubs and the referees to facilitate dialogue and improve understanding between everyone involved.
  • Coordination between the different partners as a preventive measure: the aim is to bring the different potential stakeholders together in order to foster prevention instead of repression, for example by identifying matches which may present a risk by means of a proactive approach upstream. A protocol would be implemented to this end.
  • Promotion of the Club Corner platform of the ASF (Swiss Football Association) to ensure improved circulation of information: this measure aims to highlight the activity of the ASF’s “Club Corner” platform so that information circulates more freely with and between the national authorities.

Cultivating respect at every level

“Stopping violence in amateur football is not only a sporting issue,” states Thierry Apothéloz, State Councillor responsible for social cohesion. “It is also a societal issue”. “If we want to stop violence on the pitch, it is essential that we cultivate respect at every level,” continues Marie Barbey-Chappuis, Executive Councillor responsible for the DSSP, before adding that, “Players, coaches and directors as well as spectators and parents must control their behaviour and remarks towards referees, players and stadium staff.”

Thierry Apothéloz has now announced the imminent creation of a post of cantonal delegate for prevention in sport. Initiated by the DCS and the DSSP, this position will serve as a single point of contact for training relating to prevention in sport, networking stakeholders within the sport and possibly external bodies and for occasional interventions. The office will open in 2022 and will be housed by the Association Genevoise des Sports.

1 The draft regulation for applying the charter is suspended, as it would overlap with the competences and decision-making tools of the ACGF in the event of problems arising during a match. Furthermore, off-field incidents are governed by civil or criminal proceedings.

For any additional information

DCS: Mr Thierry Apothéloz, State Councillor, by contacting Mr Henri Della Casa, deputy secretary general responsible for communication, tel. 078 674 69 95

DSSP: Ms Marie Barbey-Chappuis, Executive Councillor of the City of Geneva, by contacting Mr Cédric Waelti, senior policy advisor responsible for communication, tel. 079 596 19 79.

Article modifié le 14.10.2021 à 12:05