Melbourne’s Bentleigh Greens Sporting Club, the biggest National Premier League club in Australia, has banned some parents from attending all Bentleigh Greens fixtures.
The soccer club’s president, Trif Rellos, fed up with the hostile and abusive actions of some player’s parents, also sent warning letters to a number of parents, slamming their offensive behaviour towards players, referees and spectators during games.
The growing issue of the unacceptable behaviour of parents, which spans intolerable verbal abuse all the way through to threats of physical violence, resulted in an experienced referee recently resigning after officiating matches at Bentleigh Greens.
Rellos said that the problem of rowdy parents is not only negatively impacting players but the entire culture of the club. It is also placing the club at risk of disciplinary action and fines from Football Victoria and jeopardises sponsor relationships.
The problem is not unique to Bentleigh Greens with ‘ugly parent syndrome’ said to be driving soccer referees and coaches from the sport, creating a reliance on unqualified volunteers that leads to worse behaviour from parents. Clubs are increasingly instituting parental codes of conduct to address the issue. But Bentleigh Greens has taken a zero-tolerance stance, warning parents that their actions could go against the law and lead to charges.