Swearing could threaten future of game

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:38 04 March 2010

SUFFOLK Football Association has issued a warning that foul-mouthed players and club officials are jeopardising the use of public parks in the county.

Clubs have received correspondence reminding them of their responsibilities and referees have been told to take action.

SUFFOLK Football Association has issued a warning that foul-mouthed players and club officials are jeopardising the use of public parks in the county.

Clubs have received correspondence reminding them of their responsibilities and referees have been told to take action.

Martin Head, who is chief executive of Suffolk FA, admitted today that there is a problem.

“We have had a complaint from a member of the public, and I can sympathise with their thoughts,” said Head.

“Nobody should be barred from taking their children for a walk in a park because of swearing coming across from an adjoining football pitch.

“It is a part of society these days I'm afraid and part and parcel of life, but there is a huge difference between a player making a heat of the moment comment to a nearby team mate and a goalkeeper shouting an obscenity from one end of the pitch to the other.”

The complaint was not believed to have referred to the Ipswich area, but with so many park pitches being used, Suffolk FA decided to make their concerns known county-wide.

Individual councils have the power to stop football being played in their open spaces, and Head wants to ensure that it does not get to a position where they have to make a decision on the matter.

In the correspondence sent to all referees this month, referee development officer Simon Long issued a set of guidelines.

He wrote: “While we don't want referees to overreact and dismiss a player every time they make a comment we would ask that a strong, proactive approach is taken when dealing with such offences:-

“For a player who blasts a shot over the bar and uses language in frustration - a quiet word to remind him of his responsibilities.

“For a player giving encouragement or instructions to team-mates - a public rebuke, using the team captain if the league is signed up to the Respect Programme.

“In both of these cases if the same player re-offends, then disciplinary sanctions must be taken.

“For a player or club official who uses language at a team-mate, member of the opposition or match official - he must be sent off for use of offensive, abusive or insulting language

“This is not just a refereeing problem but by working together we hope to reduce the problem of bad language and ensure football in Suffolk is enjoyed by players, club officials, referees and spectators alike.”

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