Solihull Moors FC - Social Media Policy
 
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SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY


We all like to talk about football, whether it’s on the pitch, on the side-lines, in the car on the way home or over a celebratory pint in the clubhouse. Social media is another way for people to have a conversation about football. It can be daunting to kick-off your presence, but it can be an incredibly useful way for your club to communicate if it’s used in the right way

1.     Solihull Moors FC uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to communicate with people involved in or followers of football. It helps get the message out to as wide an audience as possible. It is important for The Club to share its Best practice advice with members, so you can use social media for your members’ benefit, while ensuring safeguards are put in place to protect young people.

2.     Social media is about connection and interaction. It can be a powerful way of sharing, meeting and is a friendly, less corporate way of communicating. It could be the perfect way for you to have a regular two-way conversation with adult players or parents outside of match day and training sessions. 

3.     It’s immediate. If you want to get a message out to players or parents about a match postponement or call for helpers for an event, you can instantly reach people without having to take the time to make calls.

4.     It’s cheap! You don’t have to pay to use social media, you just need to put in some time to develop your presence and an internet connection. You can have a simple page on Facebook or develop a YouTube presence by uploading action clips from your club’s matches. Remember you must always adhere to The FA’s guidance on Photography and film where under-18s could be involved. 

5.     It can be quite a lot of work to set-up, update and moderate the pages effectively so you need to ensure the club official responsible is willing to put in this time and effort. 

6.     It’s accessible. Older players and parents will be using the social media websites, perhaps daily from their mobile phones as well as their home or work computers. 

7.     It’s easily accessible for you and your officials to update too. Our club has a Facebook site or Twitter account, we make sure that the passwords are recorded so that they can be passed on to the next manager, Chairman or club official who takes responsibility for updating these sites. Remember your social media sites belong to the club not the person who oversees the club at that time.

These usernames and passwords should be protected to ensure only the agreed club officials can update your social media pages. Officials should moderate sites and pages daily if possible to ensure nothing inappropriate is written by a third party.
You need to be aware of the pitfalls of using social media. We follow The FA’s Best practice guidelines to ensure every club members are safeguarded, and The FA Rules and Regulations are not broken. Both individuals and grassroots clubs were charged last season for bringing the game into disrepute when offensive comments were posted on Twitter and/or their own websites.


In addition, you can find out more information from your County FA Welfare Officer if you have any additional questions concerning youth football.


Summary of Best Practice Guidance:

 

Solihull Moors Football Club’s intention and responsibility are to safeguard children and young people involved in football. As with other leading world brands The Club uses Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as a way of getting message’s across to the widest audience possible.

Alongside the very beneficial aspects of modern communication technologies we must recognise that there are also increased risks to children and young people. These risks must be appropriately managed.

 

Everyone involved in football must recognise that the responsibility to safeguard exists both on and off the field of play. This guidance has been developed in response to requests for advice. It’s essential that clubs, parents, members, and players make informed decisions about how they use the internet, mobile phone and email communications.

 

Clubs and leagues that set up websites have a responsibility to ensure safeguards are in place. Coaches, officials, referee mentors and those in a position of responsibility in clubs and leagues must ensure they communicate responsibly.

The Club recommends that texting is not used as the primary method of communication between adults and child/young people in football.

If its decided that the most effective way of communicating to young people is via a social networking site then the club/league is strongly advised to set up an account in the name of the club/league and explicitly for use by named members, parents, and carers solely about football matters e.g. fixtures, cancellations, and team selection. At no time should there be any personal communications, ‘banter’ or comments.

 

Leagues and clubs are responsible for ensuring all content hosted on their websites, social network areas and any associated message boards or blogs abide by the Rules and Regulations of The Clubs and leagues should appoint appropriate adults to monitor the content of their websites. Social networking is a cost-effective way to communicate and easy to set up, but labour intensive to run.

 

Children and young people, should be advised by their coaches, parents/carers, and Safeguarding Officers, to always tell an adult they trust about communications that make them feel uncomfortable or where they’ve been asked not to tell their parent/carer about the communication.


Social Media

·       The Club operates a Social Media policy and it is of critical importance that all members of the SMFC staff (players and non-players) observe and adhere to this policy. The copy of this policy is attached.


SOCIAL MEDIA CODE OF CONDUCT


Policy Summary

This policy applies to all academy, senior players and Youth & Juniors, & comprises part of the Club’s Rules. This policy outlines the standards which the Club requires you to observe when using social networking websites. If you do not adhere to this policy, you will be subject to disciplinary action.


The phrase “social networking website” in this Policy refers to websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Myspace, Bebo or blogs or forums of any kind. The lack of explicit reference to a specific site does not limit the extent of the application of this Policy.


Social Networking

The Club’s Media Department will monitor your use of social networking websites, tweets, and status updates etc. and will warn you if your tweets or status updates are straying into unacceptable territory. You should also speak to the Club’s media team if you are the subject of any online abuse; they will be able to provide you with guidance and assistance (wherever possible) in getting such postings removed.


The Club will list all genuine player Twitter accounts on the home page of the Club’s official Twitter service @official_SMFC. This will help fans and the media to understand which accounts are genuine and which may be fake – and will also help to gain you more followers.


Social Networking Rules

At all times that you are a registered player with the club, you must comply with the following rules in relation to the use of Social networking websites. These rules apply to both you and to anyone who operates a social networking website on your behalf and with your permission (e.g. your agent): -



·        You must notify the SMFC Media Team immediately of any account which is registered in your name on any social networking website;

·        You must not set up an account with a social networking website in an alias, nickname, or any other name other than your given name, without the Sporting Directors prior written consent;

·        You must not set up your own accounts on the various social networking sites in the name of the club (ie Solihull Moors U12s) without permission of the Sporting Director or Head of Youth & Junior.

·        You must consent to the Club following your activity on any social networking website (e.g. by “accepting” them as a friend on Facebook) and must not withdraw that consent at any time;

·        You must not abuse Team group networking (ie Whatsapp Groups, Team App, Facebook groups) to abuse or bully individuals or groups for ‘banter’ or otherwise.

·        You must attend any training which the Club arranges for you, whether individually or as part of a group of players;

·        You must inform the SMFC Media Team, immediately if you become aware of any imposter accounts which have been opened in your name, so that the appropriate action can be taken;

·        If you are in any doubt as the whether a tweet, status update, or blog post which you are proposing to make is acceptable, you should get advance approval from the Head of Media or the Sporting Director before submitting any such posting. In the event that, the Head of Media, or Sporting Director informs you that any such posting is unacceptable, you must not make it. If the Head of Media or Sporting Director requests that you remove a tweet, status update or blog post you must do so immediately. Failure to comply with any such instruction from the Head of Media or Sporting Director will constitute Gross Misconduct;

·        You must immediately inform the SMFC Media Team if you believe that any of your social networking accounts have been hacked or if a third party has learned any of your online passwords so that appropriate steps can be take promptly to secure your accounts; and

·        You must not post anything on any social networking website which is likely to bring the Club or the game of football into disrepute and in particular: -


• You must not swear;

• You must not make any negative, disparaging, or derogatory comments or postings about any player registered with the Club, any of the Club’s football backroom staff or any team tactics or team selection;

• You must not make any negative, disparaging, or derogatory comments or postings about any player or member of football backroom staff at any other professional association football team or any governing body official (e.g. referees or linesmen);

• You must not make any negative comment about the Club, any of its employees or its fans;

• You must not make any comments implying boas, attacking the integrity or anything over personal towards a match official;

• You must not post and confidential information about the Club, including match-day line-ups (of any of the Club’s teams), injury news (about you or any other player), progress of contract negotiations (relating to you or any other player), tactical plans or transfer news (relating to you or any other player). Any information of this (or a similar) type should be viewed as confidential unless and until the Club has made the information available to the public through its own official media channels;

• You must not engage in aggressive exchanges with other social networking website users;

• You must not threaten or abuse other social networking website users;

• You must not use ethnic slurs, obscenities, or personal insults;

• You must not post images or film or disclose information which would embarrass another person unless you have their clear consent to share the content online;

• You must not re-tweet, blog, re-post or quote any posting which would amount to a breach of this Policy if you had been the original sender;

• You must not upload images or film (i) taken at any of the Club’s premises (e.g. Home ground, Training Centre, Solihull Moors Retail Outlets) without the Head of Media, Sporting Director, Head of Youth & Junior or Club Secretary’s permission or (ii) of any other player or Club Member of staff without their permission (whether taken on Club premises or otherwise)

        • You must not post any false, untruthful, or defamatory statements about any person or organisation;

• You must not post any offensive, obscene, or criminal material which is liable to cause embarrassment to the Club, its customers, sponsors, or partners.


Remember that as soon as you have identified yourself on any social networking website as a player with the Club (or if those people that you permit to access your online profile are aware that you are a player with the club), your online activity, comments, photographs, and behaviour (even when taking place outside your playing or training hours) have the ability to embarrass the Club.


Disciplinary Action

Breach of this Policy will be dealt with under the appropriate player disciplinary procedure and, in serious cases, may be treated as Gross Misconduct.


 Helpful Guidance


Use your common sense – do you want to read about your tweet in tomorrow’s papers?

• Twitter is instantaneous and worldwide – even if deleted!

• Twitter is a news channel in its own right

• Twitter is cheap and immediate for journalists

• There are 2.7 million Twitter “football related gaffes” listed on Google

• Do not tweet anything that could cause reputational damage

• If you are angry or upset – do not Tweet!

• Think twice about what you are about to Tweet – would you say this if being interviewed?



Guidance for Parents/Carers:

 

Whilst the internet brings many benefits and opportunities it also opens some new risks and challenges. That’s why The FA has teamed up with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre to promote online safety and vigilance.

 

We would ask that you as a parent/carer to be aware of the following best practice promoted within football:

·       Ensure you are aware of how coaches, managers and other members of the club or league should communicate with your son/daughter.

·       Show an interest in the communications between the club, you and your son or daughter. Open communication about club and league activities/issues often mean concerns are picked up early and issues can be resolved easily.

·       Familiarise yourself with The FAs guidance for clubs in relation to websites, text messaging and social networking sites.

·       Familiarise yourself with the social networking sites your child is using. Did you know children U13 are not supposed to use Facebook? 13-17-year olds are given different ‘set up’ security features within Facebook so please ensure that they are set up correctly using their real DOB and haven’t bypassed this.

·        If you are not getting copied into club/team text messages or emails raise this with the club and ask that you are added into these communications immediately.

·       Know who your club welfare officer is and how to contact them if you have any concerns about the content of club/league web pages or in relation to the welfare of your son/daughter.

·       Ensure you tell your child to tell someone they trust about communications that make them feel uncomfortable or where they’ve been asked not to tell their parent/carer about the communication.

·       Remember as a member of a club you are responsible for and need to abide by club protocol/policy and FA Rules and Regulations regarding comments that you place online about the league, club, players, managers and/or match officials.

·       Look at the guidance offered by the Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) centre; they provide guidance for parents/carers, children and young people. They also provide the most up to date guidance for online environments

·       The Clubs Codes of Conduct, give guidance on appropriate behaviour which can be related equally to

match day, training and online environments.

·       Follow the guidance given by the Government’s ‘Click Clever Click Safe’ campaign; ZIP IT - BLOCK IT - FLAG IT. This simple 3-point guidance provides an everyday reminder of good behaviour that will help keep young people safe online

·       If your son or daughter receives images or messages which are offensive, threatening, or unsuitable please copy and save then elsewhere or print them off before removing or destroying them. They may be needed as evidence by the Club Welfare Officer or other agencies involved in the protection of children online

·       If you have serious online concerns for the welfare of your son or daughter report it directly to CEOP, and speak to the club welfare officer as soon as possible. Look at the guidance offered by CEOP. They provide guidance for parents/carers, children and young people on how to stay safe

online.

 

This can be found via: http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents and http://www.ceop.net


 
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