Picture this. You are representing your country in a game of football and you’re going through your pre-match rituals the night before. Carbs and protein load? Check. Early night? Check. No Booze? Check. On your own? Check. And here’s a new one to add to the list – no Twitter or Facebook for 24 hours before the game. The unhappy relationship between UK football and social media just got even more strained.
This is due to the new code of conduct being introduced by the Football Association – due to come into force in November 2012 – that England players will not be permitted to use social media websites for 24 hours prior to any game and especially not to make any public criticism.
The full details of the code of conduct are not being made public, but it says comments on Twitter about “the opposition, management or individuals could all result in disciplinary action”. The six page document states that “no Twitter or Facebook comments on the day before the game or the day of the game unless authorised.”
We all know that strenuous exercise is not advocated before a game, but now we are told by the FA that players are not allowed to tweet or write any status updates. Criticism of tactics, strategies or player selections will still happen by fans. But does the FA think that giving the players no right of reply is the way to handle to it? Or is the FA just trying to avoid its own public criticism? I would suggest that the FA sits down with its players and shows them the right and wrong way of handling comments, rather than just muzzling them for 24hrs. It’s not as if these restrictions will improve the England performance on the pitch anyway …