This is an initiative started by the Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Hockey Umpiring Association (H.B.H.U.A.) with a view to making stand and to try and cut out umpire abuse at all levels of the game. Sadly this has become increasingly common in recent seasons despite our best efforts and is one reason why you find it hard to find umpires for your games. The aim of this campaign is to make everyone involved in Hockey aware of their responsibilities; we all play under the EHB Code of Ethics & Behaviour. You should also be familiar with the EHB Guidelines & Summary for Safegaurding Umpires & Officials. Hither to there was little umpires could do "outside" of the game in terms of reporting players/spectators bad behaviour, the only mechanism was/is to file an MMO report - being the equivalent of a red card offence during a game. There is nothing for lesser offences. This campaign attempts to make you all aware of your duty to Hockey, to behave properly and this applies equally to players, umpires, spectators and clubs alike.


Players expect and demand a lot from the umpires. More and more games are being umpired by "club umpires" who are not appointed through the "pool" system, which applies to games in the higher leagues. Young, inexperienced and even senior umpires are being "bullied" by the players attitude to the extent that they give up umpiring. On the other hand umpires have a duty to prepare themselves before a game and arrive in plenty of time to meet and discuss the game with their colleague. They should be fully acquainted with the current rules and accepted interpretation thereof. They should be appropriated dressed and behave in a professional and polite manner. Respect is enhanced by performance, umpires should try and umpire with empathy. Umpires should try and make themselves available after the game to discuss the game in general terms. This is not always possible as umpires may have another game or maybe even be required to play in the next game. Increasingly post-match "discussions" can turn into a trial of the umpires' performance. Naturally umpires will disappear and not get involved with after match deliberations if discussions get personal and out of hand.

We want to cut swearing, foul & abusive language out of the game. Many, parents, players and senior club officials have requested this. Players are not expected to swear at an umpire or call them a cheat etc. Such behaviour should be acted upon immediately, a red card being the most appropriate penalty. Umpires don't like being spoken to or treated in this way. Umpires - you have the tools and the authority and this campaign will support you. Neither do we want to hear players shouting at and abusing other players across the pitch. We have to remember that we have children, under 18s playing or watching hockey and it is beholden on us to set a good example to the next generation of Hockey players.

Umpires do not expect to challenged and hold account of themselves every time they blow the whistle. There is no time in the game to hold a debate over the rights or wrongs. Please don't keep asking the umpire, "What was that for?" This is persistent dissent and very distracting, the umpires must discourage this by using the captains (if necessary) to control their players. There is no automatic right for an explanation of a decision during the game. The time for discussion & debate is afterwards, in a civilised manner.

So what happens

We ask that umpires report all instances of abuse to the County Discipline Officer (CDO) who will collate these reports. This will allow NHA to monitor the club/teams and ensure correct action is taken. Incidents will be categorised (graded) dependant on the level of severity.

Grade I

Not regarded as serious by the umpire, but, none the less they feel the team/club overstepped the expectations laid down in the EHCEB and this RESPECT Campaign.

ACTION: Notify the CDO with as much detail as possible. This can be done by email (or by phone). The CDO will handle as they see fit with the likely action being to record the incident, inform the club and monitor for any future incidents. If there are repeat offences and in the opinion of NHA that these are not being effectively handled by the club, NHA will take further action.

Grade II

Regarded as serious by the umpire, they are made to feel uncomfortable and not welcome in a hostile environment. The umpire has not issued a red card or MMO, but wants to seek advice on what actions to take.

ACTION: Notify the CDO with as much information as possible. The CDO will decide whether a MMO is appropriate or it should be handled by the club. If an MMO is to be issued, the CDO will guide/support the umpire(s) through the process. If no MMO is issued, the club will be notified that the behaviour is unacceptable and NHA will expect the club to take the matter seriously and deal with the incident.

Grade III

This would be for the most unacceptable levels of abuse, threats or physical violence, before, during or after a match. The most serious of offences, where the umpire has issued a red card or notice of an MMO.

ACTION: The CDO should be informed and provided with as much detail as possible. The CDO will assist/advise on the completion of the RED CARD form or MMO form. In addition to the red card or MMO for the individual(s), where the club/team have failed to control their members the NHA will liaise will other county CDO, ERHUA and where appropriate the East League to ensure the action being taken against the club/team is consistent within the expectations of Clause 6.6 of the EHCEB.

Umpires can and are encouraged to contact any of the umprie coaches/assessors for guidance and advice on umpiring matters. Their details can be found here.

In the same vein, if you have any complaint about how an umpire conducted themselves before, during, and after a game, please let us know. Umpires are expected to follow the same code of conduct as the players.

We would also like to hear when clubs/teams get it right and display a good sporting attitude, or of umpires who have contributing to you all having a good enjoyable game of hockey.

REPORT all incidents to: respect@nhua.co.uk

or phone the Norflk County Discipline Officer: Rod Larwood on 01953 717937

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