No drugs, booze or room service: FA gives England players code of conduct

Governing body wants England team, starting with the captain, to buy into new set of rules

The Football Association has issued a new, wide-ranging code of conduct, that covers everything from what players can say on Twitter, how long they are permitted to play video games and whether they can order room service at team hotels, which will be given to every footballer called up for the national team.

After three tumultuous years in the life of the England team, the code, already in the possession of every member of Roy Hodgson's current squad, reminds players that representing England "is an honour" and they are to avoid anything that could "have an effect on the reputation and integrity of the England team".

The code establishes that the FA can remove the captaincy from a player "in the event that their conduct does not meet standards required". The England captaincy, the code says, is "a privileged position which carries with it additional expectations and responsibilities on and off the field". The captain is "expected to be a role model to the rest of the squad".

Having taken the captaincy away from John Terry twice in difficult circumstances in the last 20 months, the FA hopes that players now know where they stand in terms of behaviour and the likely sanctions if they offend. The senior men's team were given a presentation on the code last Monday and it will be handed to all junior teams, men and women, and disability sides over the next few weeks.

The section on standards of conduct forbids "violence, abuse and discrimination (of all kinds)" and "use of drugs without the doctor's permission". Less obvious offences include ordering room service in team hotels, which players are forbidden from doing. Computer and video games can be played "for a sensible amount of time" and use of mobile phones in the "meal-room, dressing room and on the team bus is at the discretion of the head coach".

Players are required to be respectful of the "culture and traditions" of the countries they visit on international duty and to "respect hotel staff at all times". They are counselled not to react to "verbal provocation from the press or fans" – "however hard it is" – and to wear England branded clothes at all times, "apart from footwear", unless given permission otherwise.

Players are forbidden to criticise team-mates, team staff, referees or officials on Twitter and Facebook. There is also to be no use of Twitter on the day before a game or match day itself. However, tweets such as the one by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain yesterday afternoon disclosing he was about to have a pre-match nap are not in breach of the code.

They are banned from disclosing "team tactics or selection" to anyone outside the circle of the squad. There is to be no betting on matches. They are also encouraged to share the burden of interviews with the media, an interesting development given some players' reluctance to do so.

The practice of going through "mixed zones", to which reporters have access, is stipulated in the code and players are to be encouraged to remove headphones when doing so – a tactic occasionally employed to avoid hearing interview requests. The code also requires players to acknowledge supporters at the end of the game.

There are to be no "exclusive media columns or blogs" and no drugs or alcohol, although the latter may be consumed with the permission of the manager. Players are requested to be on time. They are also reminded to "be aware that texts, picture messages and BBM messages can become public".

The 16-page booklet has been in formulation since January and includes a detailed diagram outlining the management structure of "Club England", the group created within the FA to handle the representative teams. The players do not sign a contract, although they sign on receipt of the code and the FA will keep a record of all those who have been given a copy.

The inside front cover proclaims: "Players representing England are ambassadors for their country and role models for younger players. The highest standards of conduct and behaviour are therefore expected at all times, including when players are not on international duty."

In the sanctions section of the code, the Club England board, which includes chairman David Bernstein and Sir Trevor Brooking, the director of football development, reserves the right to impose a wide range of punishments at their own discretion. It also establishes that any decision is final and that there is no right of appeal.

On allegations of "serious misconduct", the code says that the FA can suspend a player from international duty while the investigation takes place. For example, this would have given it the right to suspend Terry from playing for England while he was awaiting his July court case on racial abuse charges, of which he was acquitted.

The code warns that serious misconduct would include "theft, dishonesty, fraud, deliberate falsification of records" and "assault, battery, violence, deliberate damage to or misuse of FA property". The "deliberate misuse of confidential information" also falls under that category. The FA hopes the tone of the code will remind players that representing their country is a privilege rather than a right. The FA hopes the code will avoid episodes such as the one which led to Fabio Capello's departure in February and Terry's subsequent retirement.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



The don'ts and the dos

Don't

* Use drugs without doctor's permission

* Disclose confidential information about any aspect of playing for England

* Wear unofficial sportswear from personal endorsements

* Consume alcohol without the express permission of the manager

* Use drugs or banned substances

* Use room service

* Bet on any football matches

* Criticise people on Twitter or Facebook

Do

* Respect opponents, officials and supporters

* Respect culture and traditions of host nations

* Acknowledge the supporters at the end of the game and when on the coach travelling to training and games

* Respect drug-testing officers

* Respect hotel staff

* Be on time for team meetings.

* Use a sensible amount of time playing video or computer games.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all