GAA Child Welfare Policy

1For the GAA’s full document on best practice in youth sport, click here. Below are the most relevant sections for underage players, their parents and/or guardians and the taking and use of photographs and recordings of juvenile games, training and activities.

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A: Section A Code of Conduct for Players

Young players can benefit greatly from sports in terms of personal development and enjoyment. As part of their development our players must be encouraged to realise that due to their participation they also have a responsibility to treat others with fairness and respect. With rights there will always be responsibilities.

When a young person signs a membership form as a player they are agreeing to abide by this Code of Behaviour and to any other policies or codes in your Club and National Governing Body.

YOUNG PLAYERS should be entitled to:

• Be safe and feel safe.
• Have fun and experience a sense of enjoyment and fulfilment.
• Be treated with respect, dignity and sensitivity.
• Comment and make suggestions in a constructive manner.
• Be afforded appropriate confidentiality.
• Participate in games and competitions at levels with which they feel comfortable.
• Make their concerns known and have them dealt with in an appropriate manner.
• Be protected from abuse.
• Be listened to.

YOUNG PLAYERS should always:

• Play fairly, do their best and enjoy themselves.
• Respect fellow team members regardless of ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or religion.
• Support fellow team members regardless of whether they do well or not.
• Represent their team, their Club and their family with pride and dignity.
• Respect all coaches, mentors, officials and their opponents.
• Be gracious in defeat and modest in victory.
• Shake hands before and after a game, irrespective of the result.
• Ensure that their coach/mentor/manager is informed in advance if they are unavailable for training and games.
• Know that it is acceptable to talk to the Club or juvenile Section Children’s Officer with any concerns or questions they may have.
• Adhere to acceptable standards of behaviour.
• Tell somebody else if they or others have been harmed in any way.
• Take due care of Club equipment.

YOUNG PLAYERS should never:

• Cheat – always play by the rules.
• Shout at or argue with a game’s official, with their coach, their team mates or opponents and should never use violence.
• Use unfair or bullying tactics to gain advantage or isolate other players.
• Spread rumours.
• Tell lies about adults or other young people.
• Play or train if they feel unwell or are injured.
• Use unacceptable language or racial and/or sectarian references.

B: Code of conduct for Parents


Parents/Guardians have an influential role to play in assisting and encouraging their children to fully participate in Gaelic Games, whether it is when they are playing our games or attending training or coaching sessions. They should act as role models for their children as they participate in Gaelic Games.

Parents/Guardians should encourage their child to:

• Always play by the rules.
• Improve their skills levels.
• Appreciate everybody on their team, regardless of ability.
• Maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle with regard to exercise, food, rest and play.

Parents/Guardians should lead by example:

• Adopt a positive attitude to their children’s participation in our games.
• Respect officials’ decisions and encourage children to do likewise.
• Do not exert undue pressure on your child.
• Never admonish your own child or any other child for their standard of play.
• Be realistic in your expectations.
• Show approval for effort, not just results.
• Avoid asking a child or young person,‘How much did you score today?’ or ‘What did you win by? or What did you lose by?’ Ask them ‘Did they enjoy themselves?’
• Never embarrass a child or use sarcastic remarks towards a player.
• Applaud good play from all teams.
• Do not criticise playing performances. Identify how improvements may be made.
• Do not seek to unfairly affect a game or player.
• Do not enter the field of play unless specifically invited to do so by an official in charge.

Parents/Guardians must:

• Complete and return the registration/permission and medical consent forms for their child’s participation in the Club.
• Inform the coaches, and any other relevant Club personnel, of any changes in their child’s medical or dietary requirements prior to coaching sessions, games or other related activities.
• Ensure that their child punctually attends, coaching sessions, games or other related activities.
• Provide their child with adequate clothing and equipment as may be required for the playing of our games, including for example helmets, shin guards, gum shields etc.
• Ensure that the nutrition/hydration and hygiene needs of their child are met.
• Listen to what their child may have to say.
• Show approval whether the team wins, loses or draws a game.
• Never attempt to meet their own needs and aspirations for success and achievement through their children’s participation in games.

Parents/Guardians should assist the club by:

• Showing appreciation to volunteers, mentors and Club officials.
• Attending training and games on a regular basis.
• Assisting in the organising of Club activities and events as requested.
• Respecting the rights, dignity and worth of every person and by treating each one equally regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, cultural background or religion.

Parents/Guardians have the right to:

• Know their child is safe and to make a complaint if they believe that their child’s safety is in any way compromised.
• Be informed of problems/concerns relating to their child by their team manager.
• Be informed if their child gets injured.

C: Photgraphic Images and Website Guidelines 

Taking photographs of players and using web sites and social media to publicise Ranelagh Gaels and/or the GAA and visual recordings of events, games, training and coaching sessions are normal activities in club life. A common sense approach is required when deciding what may or may not be appropriate as we do not wish to prohibit the advantage that this type of media can afford the club while adhering to best practice guidelines. This document is Ranelagh Gaels’ official guide and policy in this area.

By implementing the safeguards below Ranelagh Gaels will

  • still permit and facilitate the recording of relevant and suitable club activities
  • allow the photographing of club activities
  • enable coaches to use the latest technology in the delivery of training
  • Allow each of the sections to promote their activities in a safe and non-threatening manner – this can mean publication of some events in local or national newspapers and on social media sites.
  • It should be noted that we have little or no influence on what photographs may be taken and published in local or national newspapers as such photography is covered by a different set of club guidelines. Should we ever be unhappy with the publication of such photographs or images we can address this matter with the individual newspaper or the Press Council of Ireland and the Office of the Press Ombudsman.

Guidelines for Photographic/Recorded Images

When parents/guardians register their children as a member of Ranelagh Gaels GAA club they are granting their consent for the possible taking and publication of photographs and video footage of their children in the promotion of the club and the sport and the use of such imagery in line with the Ranelagh Gaels uidelines outlined below.

  • All children/young people featured in recordings must be appropriately dressed.
  • The photograph or recording should focus on the activity rather than on a particular young person.
  • No personal details relating to the young person should be revealed as accompanying materials to the photograph or recorded image.
  • Clubs, coaches and volunteers are permitted to use video equipment as a legitimate coaching aid and as a means of recording special occasions. Where a recording will be published on the websites, social media or distributed to parents or children, this should be notified beforehand to the relevant children’s officer within the Section. If the club or relevant committee are unhappy with any of the material they are entitled to withdraw their consent and destroy the material involved.
  • Parents and spectators taking photographs/recordings should be prepared to identify themselves if requested and state the purpose for their photography/filming. If Club personnel are unhappy about any matter relating to such photography the person can be asked to stop immediately.
  • Photography and the recording of images in a public place do not generally require explicit or prior consent. However if an event e.g. a game or training session is taking place, involving under age players, in a public, private or local authority venue, and if you are in charge of such an event you are obliged to request a person to stop taking photos if you feel that such action or photography may be inappropriate.
  • Group and team photographs may be taken but it is not necessary to match a player’s name. The photograph may appear with the player’s name recorded underneath but need not be in the order in which they appear in the photograph.
  • It is recognised that on certain occasions individual young people may receive recognition and may be presented with an award. When this happens in the case of an under age player any such photography or recording of events that involves individual presentations should be discussed in advance of the event and agreement reached with the club, parents and the young person themselves, as to what is and what is not permitted.
  • Any instances of the use of inappropriate images should be reported to the Section/Club’s Children’s Officer and/or Designated Person and also to the relevant statutory authorities as deemed appropriate.