(Click to download the Tour guide for youth squads as a Word document)
This Tour Guide applies to all Amersham & Chiltern RFC youth squads – a youth squad is any Mini, Junior or Colts squad which contains a player who is under 18.
General Rules Regarding Youth Tours
• No Youth Tour can take place with out the prior agreement of the Club.
• All Youth Tours must meet RFU Tour requirements
• All adults accompanying a Youth Tour are members of the Tour Party and therefore must have been vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau prior to departure. (Adults who are simply supporters or spectators and do not form part of the vetted Tour Party must not accompany the Tour Party.)
• All Tour squad members must complete a ‘good behaviour’ undertaking prior to departure.
Home Tours and Overseas Tours
For the purposes of this Tour Guide, a ‘Tour’ is a trip of any length that involves Tour squad members staying away from home overnight.
Home Tours are tours within Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Coaches should be aware that not all the home unions play the same rules at the same ages as we do in England. Accordingly, prior to departure on a Home Tour, the Tour Manager should liaise with the teams to be played during the Tour to clarify exactly what rules will be played. Tour squad members must be made fully aware of any differences to the rules they normally play under. It should also be remembered that not all home unions band youth players by reference to their age on 31st August, some work by calendar years. Check in advance. The RFU is very anti out-of-season Home Tours for youth players and only make exceptions to this in very exceptional circumstances.
Overseas Tours are tours outside Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. It should be noted that it is a RFU requirement that it is officially notified of an Overseas Tour prior to departure. Please see the section headed Notifying the RFU of an Overseas Tour in this Guide which gives more detail about how make such a notification. It should also be remembered that some overseas countries band youth players in double age bands. Check in advance that opponents are of the same age, aptitude and ability as the Tour squad members. Overseas Tours will only be permitted by the RFU in the close season where the playing season in the host country differs from that laid down by the RFU.
The RFU has produced a useful guidance brochure called “How to organise an overseas tour”. A copy of this should be obtained from the RFU Operations Dept (tel: 020 8831 6681) or downloaded from the RFU website www.rfu.com before planning an Overseas Tour. On the RFU website there are also other interesting downloadable documents relating to Overseas Tours.
Arranging a Tour
Arranging and running a Tour is time consuming and can be complicated. Meticulous planning and preparation is essential. It is important that all the Tour details are not known by just one person as this can lead to problems in the event of that person becoming ill etc. Accordingly, well before the Tour departure date, a Tour Committee must be established to share the work load. All members of the Tour Committee should be given clear terms of reference.
It is suggested that the Tour Committee is (as a minimum) made up of:
• Tour Manager (to deal with all admin, travel, insurance, notifications to RFU etc)
• Squad’s Lead Coach for the Tour
• Tour Accountant (to deal with all monies to fund the Tour)
• Tour Secretary (someone NOT going on Tour who will be readily contactable throughout the Tour).
Other possible members of the Tour Committee (depending on age of Tour squad, length of Tour, location of Tour) are:
• Deputy Tour Manager
• Tour squad Captain
• Tour First Aider(s)
• Tour Welfare Officer
• Other Coaches going on Tour
The length of time required to arrange a Tour will depend largely on the length of the Tour, the location of the Tour, the number of different locations being visited, help given by host Clubs/Unions and whether a similar tour has been undertaken by another squad in the Club (which may be able to give some guidance re accommodation, venues etc, etc). Err on the side of caution and allow months rather than weeks to organise even the briefest of Home Tours. Planning for an Overseas Tour should start at least a year before the date of the proposed Tour.
Ensure the budget/costings for the Tour are carefully worked out and ensure that monies are collected ‘up front’. The Club can not fund/underwrite tours.
A special bank account must NOT be set up in the Club’s name to hold Tour monies. The Club’s Treasurer has set up facilities within the Club’s existing account to accept such monies – please contact him for further information.
Length of Tour/fixtures
When planning the Tour bear in mind that the duration and intensity of the Tour as well as the length of travel involved should be appropriate to the age, aptitude and abilities of the Tour squad’s players. Check that the host teams being considered are of similar age, size and playing standard to the Tour squad. Remember some overseas countries have double age bands (eg U11 and U12 combined).
Size of Tour Party
It is vital that the size and balance of the Tour Party is established early in the planning stage.
The size and balance of the Tour squad (the playing squad) should be calculated, amongst other things, by reference to:
• age of the Tour squad members
• number of games to be played
• length of the Tour
• need for extra players (at all positions) to cover injuries etc
• maximum squad size permitted by host Club/Union
• need to avoid overplaying Tour squad members
The number of adults in the Tour Party must meet (or exceed) the ratio of:
• 1 adult for every 6 Tour squad members in the case of Mini squads
• 1 adult for every 8 Tour squad members in the case of Junior/Colts squads.
It is strongly recommended that a greater number of adults than the minimum set out above make up the Tour Party in the case of an Overseas Tour.
The Tour squad’s Tour Manager and the Lead Coach for the Tour must be amongst the adults on Tour. Other members of the Tour Committee (other than the Tour Secretary) should ideally also form part of the Tour Party.
At least one adult in the Tour Party must be a qualified First Aider.
One adult in the Tour Party must have successfully completed a recognised Child Protection course and take on the role of Tour Welfare Officer.
All adults in a Tour Party must have been vetted by the Criminal Records Bureau prior to departure of the Tour. This procedure takes some time (months rather than weeks in many cases). Accordingly any adult who is intending to go on Tour must submit themselves to vetting at the earliest opportunity – contact the Club’s Child Protection/Welfare Officer for more info.
The Tour Manager must seek confirmation from the Club’s Child Protection/Welfare Officer that all adults in a Tour Party have been vetted to the Club’s satisfaction.
When organising a Tour and during the Tour itself ensure that all reasonably practicable steps have been take to ensure the safety of the Tour Party. This involves (amongst other things):
• making adequate provision for the supervision of the Tour squad whilst on Tour,
• making sure the Tour Party understands the supervision needs and expectations,
• applying a good behaviour and discipline policy – Tour officials must resist any temptation to accept lower standards of behaviour than are set out in the Club’s policy regarding discipline whilst on Tour (see Appendix 1 to this Guide),
• being aware of risks particular to the location the Tour is visiting (e.g. if going abroad and using UK coach transport be vigilant when the Tour squad is disembarking – the coach exits could be next to a road rather than a pavement),
• ensuring that accommodation is safe and secure (the Tour Party’s immediate accommodation should be for the exclusive use of the Tour Party; if accommodation is not staffed 24 hrs a day ensure there are security arrangements in place to stop unauthorised visits; familiarise the Tour Party with emergency procedure/escape routes in the event of a fire etc, etc),
• having appropriate access to First Aid,
• recognising that on longer Tours many of the health problems of children are caused by lack of food, of liquid or of sleep – take steps to avoid this (e.g. set a bed time for the night before match days, ensure the Squad has access to fruit/energy bars, drinking water etc, etc),
• arranging appropriate back-up services where necessary,
• making provisions for the possibility of a member of the Tour Party becoming separated from the rest of the group (establish rendez-vous rules etc),
• ensuring that adequate arrangements are made to occupy the squad during any leisure time
• in the case of Overseas Tours, checking the Foreign Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) during the planning stage and again prior to departure to check for reports of possible problems (e.g. national strikes, civil unrest etc, etc).
The above list is not exhaustive – the risks will vary from Tour to Tour and may depend on many variables such as the age of the Tour squad members, the location of the Tour, mode of transport being used etc, etc.
It will be necessary to undertake a risk assessment so that significant or unnecessary risks can be eliminated/avoided and other risks can minimised to an acceptable level. The risk assessment should ascertain potential hazards, decide who might be harmed and how and then evaluate the risk and decide whether existing precautions are adequate or whether more should be done. It is possible that even after all reasonable precautions have been put in place some degree of risk will remain. Unless the risk is low, the hazard must be avoided (e.g. change accommodation).
NOTE: Where at all possible, a pre-Tour visit should be made by a member of the Tour Committee to conduct an on site evaluation of risks. Other than in exceptional cases a written copy of the risk assessment must be supplied to the Club when applying for permission to tour.
The Tour Manager should be satisfied as to the suitability and safety of any transport used. If travelling by coach, written confirmation must be received from the coach company that the coach meets all local safety requirements – in particular regarding seat belts. If it is necessary to transport squad members on Tour in private vehicles the Tour Manager should be satisfied that the driver is qualified and that the vehicle used is appropriately insured.
• Travel/accommodation documentation. Clearly this will vary for each Tour. All bookings should be confirmed in writing and copies of relevant correspondence kept. The Tour Secretary must be provided with a copy of all relevant documents.
• Itinerary, costs & kit requirements. Written details should be issued to potential Tour squad members so that parents can decide whether or not they are happy for their child to tour.
• Behaviour. It is a Club requirement that all Tour squad members complete a ‘good behaviour’ undertaking. See Appendix 1 to this Guide for the Club’s pro forma wording. Adult members of the Tour Party must be reminded that it is an RFU requirement that they do not drink alcohol in front of youth squad members whilst on Tour – this requirement must be adhered to whilst on Tour and not honoured in the breach. Likewise all adults in the Tour Party must ensure that Tour squad members abide by the good behaviour undertaking.
• Insurance. Insurance must be effected for all Overseas Tours as mentioned above. Insurance should be considered for all Home Tours. A copy of the Insurance Policy should be taken on Tour by the Tour Manager. The Tour Secretary should also hold a copy.
• Passports/visas. For Overseas Tours and tours to the Republic of Ireland, ensure all members of the Tour Party (adults and Tour squad members) have valid passports and any necessary visas. It is strongly recommended that the Tour Manager has a photocopy of the page bearing passport number, date of birth, photo – this can be very useful if a passport is lost whilst on Tour.
• Health. All Tour squad members should complete a health declaration/consent form. See Appendix 2 to this Guide for the Club’s pro forma wording. In the case of an Overseas Tour, a check should be made to see if any inoculations are required or recommended. In the case of a Tour to an European Union member state all members of the Tour Party should have an EHIC card (the replacement for an E111 form). The Tour Manager should make arrangements to ensure that all EHIC cards are taken on Tour.
• Tour party information. This info will be held by both the Tour Manager and the Tour Secretary.
a) info re members of the Tour Party.
The minimum info to be held in respect of all members of the Tour Party is:
full name and address
home phone no
next of kin info
health declarations/consent forms for all Tour squad members
mobile phone no(s) of any adult(s) in the Tour Party who will take their mobile on Tour.
b) detailed itinerary
c) addresses and phone no(s) for all accommodation
The Tour Manager and Tour Secretary should also have a copy of the Info for parents referred to below.
• Info for parents. Prior to departure on Tour, parents of Tour squad members should be given written details of:
- travel details
- Tour itinerary
- accommodation address(es) & phone no(s)
- mobile phone no(s) of any adult(s) in the Tour Party who will have their mobile on Tour
- name, address & phone no of Tour Secretary
- advice re level of ‘pocket money’ Tour squad members may need (and whether this will be held by the squad member or should be handed in to a designated adult in the Tour Party)
• Travel register. This should be a complete list of all members of the Tour Party. The register should be taken very regularly throughout the Tour by the Tour Manager or other designated adult. Before and during the Tour members of the Tour Party must be reminded of the purpose and importance of the register.
Kit needed for the Tour
Tour Party’s kit. If members of the Tour Party are required to buy special Tour kit (e.g. bearing Tour motifs etc) they must be advised as soon as possible. Expensive items should be avoided as they could result in some squad members being unable to tour due to cost. Tour kit should be sourced via the Club and its preferred suppliers. Playing kit must, of course, be in standard Club design and colours. If the Tour Party is to wear special kit ensure it is ordered in good time.
Past experience shows that it is a very good idea to insist that all Tour Party squad members wear a tour cap or other distinctive item of clothing whilst travelling on Tour (but remember to avoid choosing costly items). This makes squad members more readily identifiable for head counts etc during travelling and assists squad members in rejoining the squad quickly when they have separated from the group (e.g. to go to the toilet). Squad members should not be given labels to wear bearing their names.
A detailed kit list (covering playing kit and non-playing kit) should be drawn up and issued to all Tour squad members. Remember to mention even the most obvious items such as boots, spare studs and gumshields as these are sometimes not packed and lead to Tour squad members being unable to play. If the weather is likely to be wet ensure waterproofs are on the list. Spare playing kit may be a good idea if wet/dirty kit can not be dried whilst on Tour. Recommend that Tour squad members do not wear new boots for the first time on tour or blisters etc could be a problem.
Please be aware that the RFU and IRB have rules about adverts/motifs that can appear on kit and make sure that you stick by their requirements. These can be found on www.rfu.com and www.irb.com.
Rugby kit. Balls, pumps, (?)tackle pads etc will need to be taken by the Tour Party if the squad wants to train before games. In the case of an Overseas Tour, make sure you have sufficient free baggage allowance for this kit.
First Aid kit. Take a plenty of first aid supplies on Tour, they may be hard to come by and/or very expensive (particularly on Overseas Tours). Again in the case of an Overseas Tour, make sure you have sufficient free baggage allowance for this kit. The First Aid kit should be kept by the Tour First Aider(s) and restocked as necessary whilst on Tour.
A briefing meeting should be held before the Tour for all members of the Tour Party and parents of the Tour squad members.
At this meeting
• the role of each Tour Party official should be explained, the final itinerary should be detailed and all outstanding medical and consent forms collected in,
• Tour squad members and their parents should be reminded of the standard of behaviour that will be expected on Tour,
• it should be made clear whether or not the Tour Party is to travel in Club/Tour kit such as Club sweatshirts (which could be helpful when trying to do head counts in a busy location) or mufti,
• the importance of sticking together as a group whilst on Tour must be stressed and re-stressed at this meeting.
Host Clubs, particularly on Overseas Tours, often make a presentation at the end of a game. It is as well to take some small gifts on Tour (e.g. A&C club ties) so that a reciprocal presentation can be made if need be. The cost of such gifts should be factored in to the Tour costs. Shields bearing the Club’s crest can be obtained from the Club at cost – make sure an order is placed in plenty of time.
Seeking Club permission to tour (Home and Overseas Tours)
Formal (written) permission to tour must be sought from the Club at least 6 weeks before the proposed date of departure on Tour. Permission is not granted automatically and it is therefore prudent to seek permission as early as possible, preferable before any expenditure has been incurred. (Preliminary permission should be sought at the earliest opportunity – if preliminary permission is granted this must be followed up by a formal request for permission nearer to (but at least 6 weeks before) the date of departure.) The requirement to get the Club’s formal permission is additional to any other approval/notification of Tour required by Bucks RFU or the RFU itself. Permission must be sought from the Club via either the Mini or Junior Chairman, as appropriate, who will pass the request to the Club’s main Committee for consideration. When seeking formal permission from the Club it should be remembered that the Committee only meets once a month. All squads seeking the Club’s formal permission to tour must use the Club’s pro forma application form set out in Appendix 3 to this Guide.
Notifying the RFU of an Overseas Tour
The RFU must be officially notified of an Overseas Tour before it takes place. It is an RFU requirement in respect of an Overseas Tour that the proposed host club or clubs must be members of their own national rugby union. Notifications have to be submitted to the RFU at least one month prior to departure on Tour. An official RFU notification form must be used. This can be obtained from Bucks RFU, direct from the RFU Operations Dept or downloaded from www.rfu.com. Details of the Overseas Tour have to be given in the notification form (e.g. dates of tour, teams being played, details of insurance etc, etc).
IMPORTANT – the overseas Union being visited has to approve the Overseas Tour. Confirmation that the overseas Union has granted such approval has to be given in the notification form. Seeking and getting this consent (especially from a non-English speaking overseas Union) can take some time - it is vital that such approval is sought well before submitting the notification form to the RFU. The notification form has to be signed by the Club’s Secretary or Chairman. Ensure time is allowed to arrange for one of these Club officials to sign. Once the notification form is completed and signed by the Club it should be forwarded by the Tour Manager to Bucks RFU (A&C’s Constituent Body) so that Bucks RFU can endorse the notification and forward it to RFU Operations Dept, Twickenham.
Note the RFU reserves the right to decline permission for a proposed Overseas Tour if adequate insurance has not been taken out. The RFU’s insurance brokers offer a “package” cover – a copy of the Rugby Club Tour Insurance leaflet (which includes a proposal form) can be downloaded from www.rfu.com. It is strongly recommended that before going on a Home Tour similar cover is effected for the Tour Party. This is particularly important where long journeys are involved e.g. to the Republic of Ireland. Cover for Home Tours can be obtained using the proposal in the Rugby Club Tour Insurance leaflet mentioned above. The Tour Manager should be aware of any exclusions under the insurance cover effected and the Tour should be planned with these in mind (e.g. see below re Secondary activities whilst on Tour).
During the Tour
Free time Squad members will inevitably have some ‘free time’ whilst on Tour. Ensure arrangements are in place for this time to be adequately supervised. Squad members must not be allowed to wander off on their own during any ‘free time’.
Secondary activities. Avoid all secondary activities whilst on Tour which are considered to be high risk – e.g. sailing, swimming, etc, etc. Host clubs sometimes offer secondary activities to help fill a Tour squad’s leisure time. Do not accept any offers unless they are ‘low risk’ (e.g. visit to the cinema) and are not excluded from the provisions of any insurance cover effected by the Tour Party.
Risk assessment. Carry out risk assessments as necessary. Designate an adult member of the Tour Party to keep a note of all relevant problems/incidents encountered during the Tour.
Behaviour. Apply the Club’s good behaviour policy. Abide by the RFU’s requirement that adult members of a tour party do not drink alcohol in front of youth squad members during a tour.
Briefings. Hold regular briefing meetings for all members of the Tour Party. All changes to timings, travels arrangements must be notified to all members of the Tour Party.
In addition during such briefings reminders must be given of:
- the importance of sticking together as a group whilst on Tour. These reminders are particularly important prior to embarking on any travel during the Tour and when arriving at any new location
- the content of the Club’s good behaviour requirements, in particular those relating to not drinking, smoking or taking illegal drugs.
After the Tour
• Tour Accountant must reconcile the Tour accounts. Any unspent monies should be refunded.
• Tour Manager must complete and submit a Post-Tour Report to Club – use the pro forma in Appendix 4 to this Guide.
• Report to the RFU in the case of Overseas Tours - use the pro forma available from the RFU Operations Dept or download it from www.rfu.com. Note: an Overseas Tour Report Form has to be submitted to the RFU within 1 month of the last match of the Tour.
• Send letter(s) of thanks to host Club(s).
• Hand over the Tour file with all relevant papers to the Mini/Junior Chairman (as appropriate) for storage. This is vital in case problems or queries crop up after the Tour.