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KCLSU Announce New ‘Varsity Pledge’

Logo courtesy of KCLSU

Following crowd disruption during some Varsity events last year, 2024 will see the introduction of new rules for players and spectators.

While crowd chants, jokes and an atmosphere of competition are to be expected at sporting events, the Students’ Unions of King’s College London (KCLSU) and University College London (UCLSU) have taken the joint step of introducing a new ‘Player and Spectator Pledge’ this year. The 2023 Varsity season was marred by inappropriate behaviour from small sub-sections of attendees, including personal name-calling, abuse of officials, and drunk and disorderly behaviour.

The new pledge is designed to outline what behaviour “will not be tolerated under any circumstances” by Union officials at the games, in order to encourage an “inclusive and welcoming environment” for all players, spectators and staff members. Breaching the code will result in sanctions ranging from removal from the event to a complete Varsity ban, or even an official disciplinary in severe cases.

The KCLSU have also warned that players and teams which severely violate these rules may not be allowed to participate in future Varsity tournaments. Team captains will be asked to sign the pledge before their respective events, formally accepting responsibility for the actions of their players. Spectators will be notified of the pledge, and their accordant responsibilities, upon purchasing tickets on the KCLSU or UCLSU websites.

Actions expressly banned by the pledge include:

  • Arriving at an event intoxicated
  • The use of “threatening, intimidating, abusive or crude language”
  • Abuse of players, coaches, officials or spectators, either in-person or online
  • Showing unwarranted levels of dissent against stewards or officials
  • Homophobic, transphobic, racist or otherwise discriminatory language or actions
  • Invasions of the playing surface before, during or after an event
  • Bringing restricted items, including flares, fireworks and drugs, into an event

Alcohol will still be allowed at select events, but students are advised to check this on a case-by-case basis if they intend to bring any with them. You can read a full copy of the Player and Spectator Pledge on the KCLSU website.

Those who see violations of the pledge, or otherwise feel unsafe or unwelcome at Varsity events, are encouraged to speak to Student Union staff or security.

A spokesperson for KCLSU Sports said: “Our belief is Varsity showcases the best of University sport by spotlighting our sports clubs and honouring their member’s efforts. It’s not only about the performance put in by our teams on their respective playing fields, but also how our competitors, supporters, and spectators conduct themslves.

“We want Varsity to be a safe space for all, which means the behaviour of all involved must be lawful, safe, and welcoming, despite healthy competition rivalry. Varsity 2024 is the year we bring the trophy back to King’s, celebrating 20 years of Varsity with UCL. We want everyone to have the best experience possible at this year’s events in a safe and respectful environment.”

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