Sat 13 Aug 2022 11:30


Social media for clubs

Social networking, such as Twitter, Facebook, internet blogs and other online sites, offers tremendous opportunities for rugby to communicate and engage with a growing audience as well as its existing members, supporters and players.

The RFU is keen to promote the safe and responsible use of social networking technology but also to make its members aware of the potential risks and to share best practice.

Participants should be aware that comments which bring the game into disrepute, or are threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting, may lead to disciplinary action.

Comments that include a reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability may attract a high disciplinary sanction.

Comments can also attract civil and criminal action. Nearly 5,000 offences involving Facebook and Twitter were reported to police in 2012 and 653 people charged.

General guidance

  • These are public forums, so treat them as such
  • Individuals and organisations are strictly responsible for any posting on his/their account/s
  • Re-posting or re-tweeting inappropriate content represents an endorsement of that content and can be actionable
  • Do not use abusive, derogatory, vulgar or sexual language
  • Do not criticise or imply bias in match officials
  • At all times, exercise discretion and respect for clubs, players, fans and the game’s partners
  • Deleting or apologising publicly for an improper posting does not prevent disciplinary action being taken
  • Consider “protecting” Tweets and changing security/visibility of Facebook accounts

Clubs and Constituent Bodies

Clubs and Constituent Bodies (CBs) should be aware that they can be vicariously liable for material published by employees in the course of their employment, for example on an official website, Facebook site or Twitter feed, or published by employees outside work via a work email address or a work Twitter handle.

Clubs can also be liable for third party comments and postings made in their website forums or on their Facebook pages.

We recommend that clubs and CBs:

  • Clearly identify who is responsible for posting and maintaining social networking and internet sites
  • Set standards for content generated in line with the RFU’s Core Values and the guidelines above
  • Establish protocols for monitoring output, moderating content in online forums and removing offensive postings
  • Hold members to account for any breaches


The RFU’s Safeguarding Policy advises against coaches having direct personal communication with children unless in exceptional circumstances and coaches and club officials should not communicate with children through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, nor should they be “friends” with children or comment on their status.

The RFU works closely with the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, which provides comprehensive guidance and resources relating to this issue here (PDF332kB)

Players and officials

Individuals need to understand that they are personally responsible and liable for their comments and postings. At all times you should exercise discretion and be respectful of other players, teams, officials, organisations and brands. What you regard as “banter” could be regarded as embarrassing or hurtful by a wider audience and bring the game into disrepute.

In short, follow the general guidelines above and:

  • Don’t comment if you have any concerns about the consequences
  • Don’t link to unsuitable content
  • Don’t get into disputes with audience
  • Don’t share or elicit personal detail


  • Do show your personality and be approachable
  • Do share your achievements
  • Do let people know what it is like to be a player/official
  • Do post regular comments to grow and engage with an audience



Stratford-upon-Avon Rugby Club - Club Photographic Policy
30th September - 2018

Stratford upon Avon Rugby Club do not wish to prevent photographs being taken for legitimate
purposes. This policy lays out the policy as to how photography can be used can be within the
RFU safeguarding policy.

Care should be taken when placing photographic images on club websites and promotional
material. The key points are:

• Personal information which can lead to a child being identified should never be used. If it is
necessary to name a child ensure you have written parental consent and have informed the
parents as to how the image will be used. This is particularly important when issuing press
releases and match reports.

• Photographs should be of the activity or team, not of one individual.

• Stratford-upon Avon Rugby Club will obtain parental consent for photographs to be taken
whilst a child is either at the club or away fixtures. This will be done at the beginning of the
season when obtaining contact information and membership details.

• Children must be appropriately dressed when being photographed. It is never acceptable to
capture any images in changing rooms, showers or at any time when players are dressing.
Images should be neither sexual, of an exploitative nature nor open to misinterpretation or

• Parents should be made aware if a film is being taken to be used as a coaching aid. Clubs and
CBs should ensure that any footage will be carefully monitored and stored securely.

• Parents taking their own photographs must only take photographs of their own Child or wider
photos of the match as a whole where the identification of any of the other children cannot be
made out.
-Any photographs taken by parents that include children other than their own child must not be
shared on any form of social media.

• Parents should be aware that they may be asked to register their intention to take

For further information refer to the RFU safeguarding toolkit


Stratford-upon-Avon Rugby Football
Club Safeguarding Policy

  1. Stratford-upon-Avon Rugby Football Club acknowledges its
    responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children involved in [club
    name] from harm.
  2. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC confirms that it adheres to the Rugby
    Football Union’s Safeguarding Policy and the procedures, practices
    and guidelines and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement
    contained in that document and any successor policy.
  3. A child is anyone under the age of 18 engaged in any rugby union
    activity. However, where a 17 year old male player is playing in the
    adult game it is essential that every reasonable precaution is taken to
    ensure his safety and wellbeing are protected.
  4. The Key Principles of the RFU Safeguarding Policy are that:
    • The welfare of the child is, and must always be, paramount to any
    other considerations.
    • All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race,
    faith, culture, size, shape, language or sexual identity have the
    right to protection from abuse or harm.
    • All allegations or suspicions of abuse, neglect, harm and poor
    practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and
    • Working in partnership with other organisations, statutory
    agencies, parents, carers, children and young people is essential
    for the welfare of children.
    • Children have a right to expect support, and personal and social
    development delivered by an appropriately recruited, vetted and
    managed in relation to their participation in rugby union, whether
    they are playing, volunteering or officiating in the community or
    professional areas of the sport.
  5. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC recognises that all children have the right to
    participate in sport in a safe, positive and enjoyable environment whilst
    at the same time being protected from abuse, neglect, harm and poor
    practice. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC recognises that this is the
    responsibility of everyone involved, in whatever capacity, at the club.
  6. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC will implement and comply with the RFU
    Code of Conduct and the Codes of Conduct for Coaches, Spectators
    and Officials as appropriate.
  7. The Club Safeguarding Officer is Andrea Morris. If you witness or are
    aware of an incident where the welfare of a child has been put at risk
    you must, in the first instance, inform the Club Safeguarding Officer.
    They will then inform the CB Safeguarding Manager and the RFU
    Safeguarding Team. If an incident involves the Club Safeguarding
    Officer you should inform the Mini and Junior Chairman and either the
    CB Safeguarding Manager or the RFU Safeguarding Team.
  8. All members of Stratford-upon-Avon RFC who work with children in
    Regulated Activity must undertake an RFU Disclosure and Barring
    Service (DBS) check in accordance with RFU Regulation 21.
  9. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC will ensure that all its members, whether
    they are coaches, parents, players or officials will comply with the Best
    Practice Guidance as issued by the RFU. In summary, the following
    are NOT acceptable and will be treated seriously by the club and may
    result in disciplinary action being taken by the club, the CB or the RFU:
    • Working alone with a child.
    • Consuming alcohol whilst responsible for children.
    • Providing alcohol to children or allowing its supply.
    • Smoking in the presence of children.
    • Humiliating children.
    • Inappropriate or unnecessary physical contact with a child.
    • Participating in, or allowing, contact or physical games with
    • Having an intimate or sexual relationship with any child developed
    as a result of being in a ‘position of trust.’
    • Making sexually explicit comments or sharing sexually explicit
  10. Stratford-upon-Avon RFC manages the changing facilities and
    arranges for them to be supervised by two DBS checked adults of the
    appropriate gender for the players using the facilities. Stratford-upon-
    Avon RFC ensures that all its coaches, parents, officials and spectators
    are aware that adults must not change at the same time, using the
    same facilities as children.