Section E16: Cheerleaders Code Of Conduct
Entertainment (pre-match & half time) etiquette
Every effort should be made to provide a diverse range of entertainments over the course of the season, and not the sole reliance on cheerleading i.e. dance styles and music that are representative of other cultures, dance troupes that include male and female dancers and have different costumes, music based activities such as drumming and percussion, juggling, acrobatics, gymnastics teams, young people tag/touch rugby etc.
Clubs should provide training to entertainers on the rules of the game. Cheerleaders/Dance Teams should develop safe performance schedules that are approved by the club.
General considerations relating to cheerleading
Consideration should be given to the name of the troupes, in particular if the chosen team name could be considered demeaning to women then they should be asked to change the name before being invited to take part in a match.
Joining or participating in a cheerleading team or dance troupe should not be restricted to female or male only participants and neither should there be an expectation that participants must have a certain body type and appearance.
These considerations should extend beyond the game to the clubs websites. It is not appropriate for the cheerleaders to be portrayed in revealing outfits and in provocative poses, either in the cheerleading sections or when used throughout the web site. Consideration must also be given to safeguarding concerns when young women are providing personal information on the club website
The clubs must ensure that uniform, music, and dance styles should be age appropriate and fully inclusive as befitting of the ‘family game’.
– Uniform and appearance
Rugby League is a family game and uniforms and costumes should not be seen as inappropriate, offensive or suggestive: the wearing of bra or bikini tops and displaying cleavage is not acceptable, showing of the midriff area should be avoided. Tiny hot pants and very short skirts are not advisable and underwear must not be visible. No jewellery / piercing should be worn as this would be a possible health and safety risk especially if performing tumbles and stunts. Excessive make-up should not be worn.
Music used for match day performances must be appropriate for a family game. Unsuitable/offensive music with sexual content, racist or vulgar lyrics is not acceptable.
– Dance style
In keeping with the family game routines should be audience appropriate and should not include any vulgar or suggestive movements.
Cheerleaders are the Club’s most visible supporters – they should act accordingly and have a ‘fun’ approach to the role.
Clubs should be clear as to the age group make up of dance squads and ensure staffing is suitably qualified and checked. Where dancers/cheerleaders are under 18 they must be supervised by CRB checked staff and must not wear provocative clothing.
Clubs should ensure the RFL Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Policy and Implementation procedures are applied as regards match day entertainment and website information. Whether performers are supplied by an outside contractor or an in house set up the club must ensure Safeguarding standards fall in line with RFL Safeguarding policy.
Health and safety
Health and safety of performers should be priority e.g. appropriate costumes and footwear to cater for inclement weather for instance and suitable/secure changing facilities provided. Equal opportunity must also exist within this sector of the game.
Before tumbling or stunts can be included in a performance a risk assessment must be carried out that will account for weather and pitch conditions as well as the need for any safety equipment such as mats. The health and safety of the cheerleaders is paramount.
Keep open the opportunity to re-hydrate at all times.
Match day performance code of conduct
Cheerleaders should strive to promote good sportsmanship by:
1. Striving to be modest in victory and gracious in defeat
2. Taking responsibility for providing positive leadership at all times
3. Not criticising opposing Coaches, Cheerleaders or supporters verbally or by gesture; not inciting un-sportsman like conduct
4. Not swearing, using foul or abusive language at any time
5. When play is in progress cheerleaders should abstain from:
– Chewing gum
– the possession or drinking of alcoholic beverages
– the possession or smoking of tobacco in the presence of spectators, officials, judges, teammates or other squads while wearing team uniform or otherwise representing their squad or where not permitted by law
– the possession or taking of any controlled drug at any time
– Slouching chatting or any other distracting behaviour
– Responding to or encourage lewd or inappropriate comments from spectators. Report to appropriate person i.e. steward, ground safety officer or Club Welfare Officer, as this kind of behaviour is not befitting of the `family’ game.
6. Always showing respect and being polite to officials, judges, opposing Coaches, Cheerleaders and spectators.
When play is in progress performers may show support but only perform routines during natural breaks e.g. pre and post match, half time, and for example directly after a try is scored as signalled by the match referee. Cheerleading teams must not act in a way or be positioned on the ground in a way that could affect a player’s concentration e.g. when a kick at goal is in progress. When not involved in a routine the performers must keep a unified relaxed but alert posture, pay attention to the game and keep a professional approach. Behaviour should be in line with principles outlined in the Match Day Operations Manual.
If despite these guidelines the entertainment provided by the club is perceived by spectators, players, match officials or any others as either overtly sexualized or inappropriate that group should not be used for subsequent matches until adjustments have been made to either the routine or costumes. Any verbal or written complaints must be taken seriously and acted on appropriately.
United Kingdom Cheerleading Association (UKCA), is Governing Body for Cheerleading within the UK and was established over 20 years ago. The UKCA is currently working in partnership with British Gymnastics, and is an organisation dedicated to the delivery of safe training methods for Coaches and Cheerleaders, whilst providing a platform for regular competition and performance at all levels. As the only Cheerleading Organisation in the UK offering a pathway from ‘Grass Roots’ sport through to European and World Competitions, UKCA is excited to be working with the RFL Cheerleading teams.
UKCA aims to assist in the development of Cheerleading within the RFL by providing quality Coach training, skills based workshops, guidance and support to the Cheerleading Clubs direct and most importantly, promote and establish a strong network of communication for all involved. UKCA are here to help!
Please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further advice and guidance please contact the RFL Equality and Diversity Manager. Additional information on Cheerleading/Dance Team etiquette and codes of conduct is available on www.ukca.org.uk
The RFL acknowledges the support of UKCA in contributing to the development of the above code.