by Olly Allen
Cardiff University men’s football club have been suspended from all football activity, pending an investigation, following a complaint made to Cardiff University Students’ Union.
All of the club’s fixtures, except for the one involving the Medics side, on Wednesday 4 March were postponed, with the suspension potentially putting their impressive BUCS season in the dark.
Meanwhile, their participation in this year’s Welsh Varsity is now in doubt. The futsal side are being allowed to continue fulfilling their fixtures.
Gair Rhydd Sport understands the complaint was made following an ‘initiation’ social in February. It is believed that the complaint did not come from within the club, but from a third party, which the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) organisation lists as hotels, coach companies, members of the public, parents and national governing bodies.
A statement from the Students’ Union confirmed that the alleged incident appeared to break regulations set out by both the University and BUCS. A joint investigation between the University and Students’ Union is currently underway. At the start of the academic year, all AU committees are required to attend a session entitled ‘Socials and Behaviour Policy Training’ at which the club rules, including those related to initiations, are laid out.
BUCS lists initiation behaviours as including: coercion to undertake activities against a person’s will, forced consumption of large quantities of alcohol, humiliation of a person in public (i.e. setting someone up to fail), forced acts of nudity/nakedness, victimisation of a group of individuals described as “freshers”, consumption of abnormal/unpleasant substances, bullying, discrimination or harassment and psychological torment.
Initiations can also be called a “Welcome Event” or “Meet and Greet” and be held at any time of year on or off campus. BUCS have taken a strong stance on initiations in recent years and state that all such events are banned. According to guidelines, any individual involved in planning an initiation will “be suspended from participating in BUCS competitions for the remainder of the season in which the sentence is handed down and in to the following season until a total suspension of one year (365 days) has been served”.
The full statement from the Students’ Union on Thursday March 5 read:
“The Students’ Union has received a complaint in relation to an alleged incident that took place involving the men’s football club.
“The reports that we have received are very disappointing and have highlighted that behaviour within the club appears to have breached of the University Student Behaviour Procedure, the Athletic Union Sports Club Behavioural Policy and BUCS regulations. Any student found to be in breach of these codes will be subject to disciplinary action.
“The Students’ Union is clear that there is no place for social activity that may involve, dangerous or inappropriate behaviour, peer pressuring or humiliation of team members.
“We take these complaints of this nature incredibly seriously. The Students’ Union and University are conducting a joint investigation into the matter, during this time, a full suspension of all men’s football activity has been put in place.
“There will be no further comment on the matter until the outcome of the investigation is known.”
A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “We are aware of an alleged initiation involving members of the University’s men’s football club. As a result, the Students’ Union has suspended all men’s football activity, including fixtures, training and social activity subject to the outcome of a joint University investigation. Initiations or similar behaviour have no place at Cardiff University. If the reports are in any way accurate, the Athletic Union and University will take appropriate disciplinary action against the individuals involved.”
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