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England code of conduct

Oct 2, 2012
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England players will be asked to sign up to a code of conduct which is long overdue, according to David Bernstein.

The FA chairman has identified the Respect agenda as the most important part of his role and is determined to introduce a system of warnings and suspensions to deal with bad behaviour.

And Bernstein says the initiative is more than just a reaction to the recent high-profile cases involving John Terry and Ashley Cole, who were subject to the FA's general disciplinary code.

He said: "The England players are representing their country, they're role models, their behaviour is incredibly important in respect of everything else we're trying to do.

"I feel very strongly about that. It should really have been brought in years and years ago. Clearly in the past we've been hampered by not having a code and some things have been less clear than they might have been.

"The FA is a complicated organisation. Having the whole regulatory side alongside Club England has created a degree of confusion. There has been a lack of clarity and the fact we haven't sat down with them has led to a bit of fuzziness."

Among the issues covered by the code will be the use of social media, pertinent given Cole's recent Twitter outburst which has earned him an FA misconduct charge.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "We've explained to the players that it's absolutely fine by us, but that they should understand that if they are using Twitter when they're with the team they should do so in conjunction with the team's media officers. Social media can be a very powerful vehicle for footballers and individuals when used in the right way.

"When they are not with the team, they should avoid any criticism of any organisations or individuals."

Bevington presented the planned code to players and said: "A lot of thought has gone into this and obviously the clubs have their own codes of conduct.

"If someone transgresses in a way that brings the integrity of the team or themselves or the organisation into question, we have the ability to warn them, or if we deem it appropriate, under significant circumstances, to suspend them from England."