The Rugby Football Union, the governing body rugby union in England, established a Core Values Task Group to define its value system in formal terms.
The group, chaired by RFU Past President Bob Rogers, was set up in response to a perception that standards of behaviour were changing as more people became involved in rugby.
Examples included parents shouting and acting aggressively towards referees and opponents; the hostile behaviour of some spectators at elite matches; and players adopting a less respectful attitude towards match officials.
The result of the Core Values Project is the the first Code of Rugby.
The group’s terms of reference were to determine the behaviours and define the core values that shape the ethos and culture of the game; to determine the factors and behaviours that undermine those core values; to determine strategies that will promote and monitor the defined core values and how they should be presented; and to review existing codes of conduct for all participants and see how they could be extended to the whole game.
As a result, the core values were defined as teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship:
Teamwork is essential to our sport. We welcome all new team members and include all because working as a team enriches our lives. We play selflessly: working for the team, not for ourselves alone, both on and off the field. We take pride in our team, rely on one another and understand that each player has a part to play. We speak out if our team or sport is threatened by inappropriate words or actions.
Mutual respect forms the basis of our sport. We hold in high esteem our sport, its values and traditions and earn the respect of others in the way we behave. We respect our match officials and accept our decisions. We respect opposition players and supporters. We value our coaches and those who run our clubs and treat clubhouses with consideration.
Enjoyment is the reason we play and support Rugby. We encourage players to enjoy training and playing. We use our sport to adopt a healthy lifestyle and build life skills. We safeguard our young players and help them have fun. We enjoy being part of a team and part of the Rugby family.
Strong discipline underpins our sport. We ensure that our sport is one of controlled physical endeavor and that we are honest and fair. We obey the laws of the game which ensure an inclusive and exciting global game. We support our disciplinary system, which protects our sport and upholds its values. We observe the sport’s laws and regulations and report serious breaches.
Sportsmanship is the foundation upon which Rugby built. We uphold the Rugby tradition of camaraderie with teammates and opposition. We observe fair play both on and off the pitch and are generous in victory and dignified in defeat. We play to win but not at all costs and recognize both endeavor and achievement. We ensure that the wellbeing and development of individual players is central to all Rugby activity
This was the first time a sport has set out to define its value system in formal terms and clubs around the world are embracing and promoting these values.
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