New Zealand rugby
Move to vet kids' rugby coaches not new
March 6, 2013
Edinburgh's Dave Denton teaches a child some skills, St Andrews University, Scotland, August 7, 2012
The NZRU says the safety and welfare of children and young people involved in rugby is paramount. © PA Photos
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Teams: New Zealand

The New Zealand Rugby Union's move to make it compulsory for coaches and referees of junior rugby to undergo police checks this season isn't a first for sports organisations.

The union announced it would implement mandatory police vetting for all 'Small Blacks' coaches at the launch of its $16.5 million, three-year community plan in Auckland on Wednesday.

The union's Small Blacks programme covers those aged under 13 and it says referees will also need to be vetted. It says the safety and welfare of children and young people involved in rugby is paramount.

A police spokesman told NZ Newswire the police provide a vetting service for approved organisations, of which there are currently about 10,500.

There are many sports groups already registered with police as approved organisations for vetting, so it is not a first in terms of the union doing this, the spokesman said.

To become approved to use the vetting service, the organisations will have demonstrated that the vetting is for individuals who are responsible for providing care to children, older people and more vulnerable members of society.

The vetting service is free, but police are consulting on a proposal to partially recover some of the costs by charging organisations.

Mike Webb, acting general manager of strategy, policy and performance, says police are looking at more than 100 submissions received on the proposal. Recommendations will be made to the government in due course.

Meanwhile, in addition to the police checks to be brought in this year, the union is also encouraging better sideline behaviour after a number of ugly incidents in recent years, including a charter and code of conduct for clubs and schools.

The union will spend NZD $5.6m a year on its community plan, an increase of NZD $500,000 on 2012, and it aims to make rugby the sport of choice in Auckland and more funding for secondary schools.


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