GLOUCESTER have ordered 10,000 ‘Rugby is Special – Let us keep it that way’ leaflets following their ill-tempered West Country derby against Bath.
During their last outing at Kingsholm, the Cherry and Whites were dealt a pair of red cards and had two players sent to the sin-bin before a supporter hurled a bottle towards referee Tim Wigglesworth.
Gloucester came under fire following the incident but they have reacted by getting behind the RFU campaign which is currently being trialled by Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union.
The project aims to establish a framework based upon five key values – Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship – which rugby at all levels should be built upon.
GRFU chairman Peter Williams said: “Over the past few years there has been a noticeable decline in the standards of behaviour both on and off the field.
“This has manifested itself in a significant increase of the use of inappropriate language and there has been an unwelcome escalation in referee abuse.
“As members of the Rugby Family we are expected to behave in certain ways as we interact with each other. In the grassroots game everyone is a volunteer and should be able to enjoy what they are giving to the game in a friendly environment.
“It was extremely unfortunate that just days after the project roll-out in Gloucester there was an unsavoury incident after the Bath game when a spectator lobbed a plastic bottle at the referee as he left the field.
“The swift action taken by Gloucester Rugby, to identify the individual and issue a general warning to all spectators, is to be applauded and highlights their commitment to the project.
“Moreover, I am delighted that the club wishes to reinforce the message, while the incident is still fresh in people’s minds, by starting the process of educating their fans on the standards of behaviour expected of them.
“Such a process will take time; however, the distribution of 10,000 cards, showing the ‘TREDS’ message, to fans as they enter the ground for the London Irish game on Saturday is to be applauded.
“Such definitive action sends a clear message to the wider game within the County; that from the top of the pyramid there is a will and desire to start the process of improving standards of behaviour.”
GRFU are currently taking the lead in the project and the pilot has been rolled out to 25 clubs in the county and from September that will extend to more than 80.