Cardiff University Football Club has been banned from playing, training and has been withdrawn from their Varsity fixture, following a social that included a Powerpoint on how to identify and sleep with girls with low self esteem.
The presentation drew widespread criticism as well as an official complaint, after it was delivered in the Vulcan to a joint social of the Football Club and the dance group FAD.
The content of the presentation was based around a self-deprecating analysis of the club member who delivered it and his lack of success attracting girls. It then proceeded to focus on how to spot girls with low self esteem as they ‘are easier to have sex with’, according to those in attendance.
One member of the dance group who was present at the social, condemned the actions, saying, ‘It was totally unacceptable. All of the girls were forced to the front to watch a powerpoint which made light of girls with low self esteem, spiking girls drinks, domestic violence and even rape.
These are all real life issues facing women (and men) today and we should not have to deal with this kind of ‘lad culture’ anywhere, but especially in the university environment.’
The club’s punishment – a two week ban from all activity and removal from the annual varsity fixture – was announced at a meeting between University and Union representatives and the teams.
In the meeting on Wednesday, Steve Wilford, the Students’ Union’s Director of Membership Services, announced that the punishment was to begin Thursday at 9am.
Following an official complaint, the Union launched an investigation into the incident. Although Wilford praised the Football Club’s co-operation and openness during the investigation, he described his disappointment, saying, “in my 12 years of dealing with students’ sport, this is the first time I’ve ever had to take the decision to prevent people from playing.”
This incident took place a mere month after a conversation between the Union and the club’s committee about the impact of the behavior and culture that existed within it.’
A letter written on behalf of the Students’ Union, Athletic Union and University Sport, to the Football Team’s committee said, ‘There can be no justification for the actions of those involved in delivering or arranging the delivery of such content.
‘There are no mitigating circumstances that the intention was to deliver the content in private and we are disappointed that although there was an apparent lack of knowledge of the planned delivery of this presentation, we have heard no suggestion that any individual or committee member present made any effort to intervene, nor was any retrospective action taken until the matter was brought to our attention.
‘The content of the presentation, delivered by senior members of the Club who are role models to younger or newer members, should never have been delivered, irrespective of audience and location.’
Distancing themselves from the content of the presentation, FAD released a statement saying, ‘On Wednesday 6th November Funky Arse Dancing attended a joint social with Cardiff University Football Club. During the evening a presentation was shown which has provoked significant controversy.
It is important to acknowledge that this presentation was given by CUFC; FAD was not aware of its content or even that it would be shown and in no way endorses or condones any of the views expressed.
Whilst it was evident to everyone in attendance that the presentation represented a serious lack of judgment and was an error on behalf of the football boys; their immediate unreserved apology and remorse expressed indicated that there was no malicious intent and that the presentation was intended as a joke (despite being wildly inappropriate and misplaced).
There have never been incidents such as this on previous joint socials and FAD wishes to extend their apologies to anyone that was offended or otherwise affected by the presentation.’
The letter to the committee:
As you are aware we have been in receipt of a complaint regarding the conduct of the Football Club at a social event on the date above at The Vulcan.
The Students’ Union, Athletic Union and our counterparts within Cardiff University were shocked by the revelations of the presentation that took place at this event. There can be no justification for the actions of those involved in delivering or arranging the delivery of such content. There are no mitigating circumstances that the intention was to deliver the content in private and we are disappointed that although there was an apparent lack of knowledge of the planned delivery of this presentation, we have heard no suggestion that any individual or committee member present made any effort to intervene, nor was any retrospective action taken until the matter was brought to our attention. The content of the presentation, delivered by senior members of the Club who are role models to younger or newer members, should never have been delivered, irrespective of audience and location. It is equally concerning that it appears that this is not the first time this has been delivered.
This incident was clearly a breach the Cardiff University Student Code of Behaviour and the Athletic Union behaviour code as laid out in the Activities Laws.
It is particularly disappointing that we have met with the Club each Freshers over the last few years and despite our strong guidance we continue to be in receipt of allegations of misconduct. We have believed over this time that they may have been a culture that has at best tolerated, but at worst promoted misconduct. To us, this incident is the clearest indication yet that this is the reality.
In line with the Students’ Union Complaints Policy, representatives from the Students’ Union officer team, staff team and representatives of Cardiff University have met with a number of parties to undertake an investigation. We believe we have a good understanding of the intentions and the decisions made that lead to the incident occurring. We have also considered whether any appropriate action should be taken to demonstrate to the club and the wider student membership that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
We recognise the actions the Club has taken to remove the individuals directly responsible for this incident and the apology provided to the Students’ Union for the incident. We also recognise the clubs willingness to engage in the investigation in an open and honest manner.
The investigation has concluded the following outcomes serve as an appropriate demonstration that this sort of activity will not be tolerated:
•Suspension of all activity of the Football Club for a period of two weeks from 9am Thursday 14th November to 9am Thursday 28th November. This will include a suspension of all training and competition activity.
This will include walkovers in all fixtures scheduled to take place during these dates in BUCS and other league competitions
•Payment of any financial penalties as a result of walkovers declared in these competitions
•Suspension of the Football Club participation in the Welsh Varsity 2014
Furthermore we expect the club to proactively engage with:
•Training to develop the Club and its members understanding of equality. The outcome of this training will include efforts to proactively promote equality within the Club
•Campaign activity alongside the Students’ Union and Women’s Association to highlight the impact of inappropriate behaviour and how sports clubs can and should embrace equality and diversity
We expect the Club as a whole to work proactively to demonstrate to the student population that it is working hard to change the culture within the Club. If the Football Club fully engages with these initiatives, the suspension of participation in the Welsh Varsity 2014 will be repealed.
The individuals involved in the organisation and delivery of this event have been suspended from access to all University sports venues and all Football Club activity. We expect the Club to assist in enforcing this suspension and should we find evidence that the Club is allowing their attendance or participation, sanctions on the Club may be reconsidered.
The Club have the right to have this matter considered by a student complaints panel or can appeal against the decision of this investigation. Any intention to do either should be lodged by emailing the Director of Membership Services on firstname.lastname@example.org by 12pm Friday 15th November.
We hope that this incident serves as a turning point for the Football Club.
Director of Membership Services
On behalf of
Cardiff University Students’ Union
Cardiff University Athletic Union
Cardiff University Sport
Edore Evuarherhe – Vice President Sport/Athletic Union President
Cari Davies – SU President
Stuart Vanstone – Head of Sport