By Mollie Bennett
When you think about football, you think of passion, pride and commitment; you think of proudly wearing your team’s jersey on match day.
You don’t think of following your football hero on twitter, well at least you never used to.
Rewind ten years and social networking wasn’t an issue, in fact most people wouldn’t have a clue what it was, they would talk to each other face to face or by telephone. Today it’s broadcast online for the world to see.
Footballers run the risk on a daily basis when using social networking sights, take Rio Ferdinand for example, calling his fellow England international a “choc ice” for all of his 3.4m followers to see and receiving a mere £45,000 fine for his troubles.
Ferdinand branded his Premier League rival a “choc ice” after Cole gave evidence on behalf of Terry in a racist trail involving Rio’s younger brother Anton (Ferdinand).
Charlotte Bennett, a member of Southern Women’s Premier League side Lewes, believes that footballers should remember they are role models, when using social networking sites.
She said: “I think footballers should be allowed to use it but for the right things, for example communicating with fans or for match advertisement. I don’t agree with it being used to voice frustrations against other professionals, if people feel that strongly, they should say it to their face. All footballers need to remember they are role models, on and off the pitch and they represent their clubs.”
As technology is ever-growing, so is the number of troublesome tweets. The FA have recently announced a new social networking policy which includes separate sections for when players are on England duty or with their clubs.
The new code of conduct, due to come into force in November 2012, states that England players will not be permitted to use social media sites, 24 hours prior to any international game.
The full details of the conduct are not being made public, although it is said to include the recommendation that all England internationals should consult the FA before posting a tweet, however, doesn’t that defeat the object of tweeting in the first place?
Surely footballers understand that when tweeting on social networking sites, the whole world can see what their saying and just because they choose to tweet instead of talk, it doesn’t make it acceptable to call your employer a ‘bunch of t***s’.
The life of a footballer is undoubtedly surreal but surely not so bizarre that they can label their employers ‘t***s’ and carry on like nothing’s happened.
For every day people, social networks are a way of broadcasting their personality and meeting new people and this could be the case for footballers as well, if they understood the difference between what is acceptable and what is not.
Nobody is denying that twitter is a way for footballers to connect with their fans, but certain footballers feel it’s acceptable to publish personal opinions on a worldwide platform and that is where the problem lies.