by BACT Media Unit – 7 February 2024

Basketball ACT is ”Going Green” in 2024 and implementing a new initiative to support and protect young referees, as they go about their on-court duties.

Modelled on an initiative that has been rolled out by numerous state associations over the previous 12 months, Basketball ACT will introduce the Green Whistle Program in 2024, aimed at protecting young referees and looking to reduce instances of verbal, non-verbal, physical and emotional abuse.

The Green Whistle Program will see green whistles and lanyards provided to referees under the age of 18. The highly visible identifier will serve as an immediate reminder to spectators, coaches, players and parents that the official is a minor, and a prompt to modify their behaviour and interaction with young officials.

In establishing the program, Basketball ACT believes it will take away key obstacles in referee retention and recruitment, as well as providing an environment where young referees can focus on their development, build their confidence and grow as officials.

Basketball ACT CEO, Nicole Bowles believes the Green Whistle Program will be a strong step in the right direction in supporting referees and changing negative behaviours towards officials in the game. “With so many sports experiencing poor behaviour towards officials, we have a responsibility to protect young referees in our game. The introduction of the Green Whistle Program will be an immediate indicator that a minor is involved in the officiating of the game, and force spectators, coaches and players to be mindful of their interactions. The program is part of our on-going commitment to creating a safe and supportive environment for young referees to thrive and grow on-court”.

In implementing the Green Whistle Program, Darryl Durham, Basketball ACT’s Officials Coordinator said “The Green Whistle Program is a proactive step towards further creating a basketball community where every young referee feels protected, supported and valued. By identifying referees under 18 in such a way, coaches, players and spectators can modify their behaviour, and allow our young referees concentrate on their roles with confidence and security.”

So, when it comes to young referees in 2024, “If it’s Green, don’t be mean – because they are under 18”.

The Green Whistle program is scheduled to commence in conjunction with Basketball ACT’s Junior Winter season in mid- March 2024.