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Basketball ACT to trial zero tolerance policy on bad behaviour

Basketball ACT will trial a zero tolerance policy to stamp out poor behaviour in its open men's and women's summer leagues, with acting chief executive officer Tom Moore saying steps had to be taken to "provide them with a safe environment in which to play".

Last week's opening round of the women's competition was called off after some teams raised concerns over the aggressive style of a particular club. 

A meeting was held on Monday open to all members, teams and clubs to discuss the situation.

It was resolved a zero tolerance policy, introduced in NSW in 2004, would be trialled in open divisions to solve the problems, including excessive sledging and abuse of referees. 

All players will be required to sign the policy before matches on Thursday night, and if it proves successful, there are hopes it will be rolled out permanently across all levels. 

In a letter posted on Basketball ACT's website on Wednesday, Moore advised members that:

  • Basketball ACT will provide two qualified referees at every summer open competition game; 
  • An additional qualified referee or staff member will act as a game commissioner at every game, who will provide referee education to each referee after each game, and; 
  • The game commissioner will have the power to stop games and issue warnings, make referrals to the tribunal and eject any participant they believe is not adhering to the policy, including spectators. 

Veteran Basketball NSW official Moore approved the initiative as part of his month-long stint as acting Basketball ACT CEO, which will end when new boss Maxwell Gratton starts next week. 

"All participants are going to be asked to sign a zero tolerance policy, as a trial basis we've asked the open men and women to do it," Moore said. 

"Respect to officials, respect to each other and respect to the game. They're the common sense items in the zero tolerance policy. 

"If you go out and abuse the referees, we have the right to tell them to leave the court and send them to a tribunal. 

"What will happen there is the appeal process will let them back in, but not before they sign a player behaviour agreement, which is tougher again. 

"We will not take any more unacceptable behaviour from any person, and the spectators will be expected to meet those standards as well."

Moore said the issue of player safety had arisen regularly during Monday's meeting, which exacerbated the need for action. 

"There was a whole range of issues, but the one which kept coming up was the safe environment," Moore said. 

"We believe the initiatives put in place will ensure that, and it will show good faith to the teams [that] we're trying to improve the situation for participants."

Some teams had threatened to withdraw from the women's competition, but it is understood all teams will compete in Thursday's fixtures. 

"Basketball ACT obviously has had some issues in the past few months," Moore said. 

"There was issues where there was a lack of communication, and this led to the failure in identifying this problem up-front. 

"The current staff are young and new, and since I've been there since September 26 I've got a lot of admiration. 

"I haven't made all these decisions, I've had staff involved all the way down the line."