Abuse must stop, says League chairman
Football League chairman Greg Clarke insists abuse between players must be eradicated from the game.
The sport has come under pressure to improve the standards of behaviour seen on the pitch in the wake of John Terry's court case where it was alleged he had called Anton Ferdinand a "f****** black c***". While Terry was acquitted of a racially aggravated public order offence, the case shone the spotlight on the obscene language used during games.
"Player behaviour is an issue that needs to be addressed," Clarke said.
"It's not just something that's popped up in the last few weeks, it seems to be part of the game at all levels. When it becomes abusive, intimidatory or racist, it passes beyond the pale.
"I don't think it's realistic to remove the occasional expletive from our game when a player gets injured or receives a tackle they don't like. But in-your-face verbal abuse, deigned to get a competitive advantage, has no place in our game."
The rules required to combat the problem are already in place with FIFA's Laws of the Game listing "using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures" as a sending-off offence.
Fears have been raised that the implementation of the law could lead to large numbers of players being shown red cards and matches consequently being abandoned.
Professional Footballers' Association chairman Clarke Carlisle predicted a period of "mayhem" in football if it decides to address the issue. Clarke believes only a gradual approach would succeed and that referees must have full support from all elements of the game.
"We have the laws in the game already and we need to enforce them," he said. "We shouldn't put it on the referees' backs because they're always getting blamed for the ills of the game We make the rules and we should create a culture within football where there are certain standards of behaviour that are non-negotiable.
"The referees should have the power to enforce the laws and the clubs and leagues should stand behind them. I'd go for a softly-softly approach to start with. Enforcing the laws would be phased in over a period of time."
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