Banned: Ifab get shirty over slogans on vests

New rule outlaws the display of all messages, however well intended

Zurich

In a move that seems bound to be construed as somewhat churlish, football’s lawmakers yesterday banned  players from displaying any messages on their undergarments, even if they are innocent, charitable symbols.

From 1 June, in other words before the start of the World Cup, players will be barred from displaying personal slogans and it will be up to competition authorities to decide what action to take if the rule is broken.

Overt slogans have long been banned by Fifa but players often lift up their shirts after scoring to show other messages such as Mario Balotelli’s famous “why always me”. But these will no longer be allowed.

“From now on there can be no slogan or image whatsoever on undergarments, even good-natured ones,” said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke after the English proposal was accepted by the International FA Board.

Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Welsh FA, accepted that an outright ban might be considered “a little bit churlish” but said there were more reasons to impose the ban than to retain the status quo.

“Everyone agreed about political or religious statements but on personal statements some of us did consider how far are we going,” said Ford. “But we decided it was easier for us to say it has no place in the game.  With all the different languages in football, how you determine what is right and wrong between different countries and cultures is very complicated.”

Personal messages on shirts have been used by players to pay tribute to deceased colleagues, as well as light-hearted or humanitarian slogans. But defending the ban, Football Association chief executive Alex Horne said: “The idea is to get some consistency. The simplest rule for the image of the game is to start from the basis that slogans will not be allowed.”

Meanwhile, Uefa boss Michel Platini’s campaign to scrap the so-called triple punishment imposed on players who deliberately prevent a goalscoring opportunity – penalty, dismissal and suspension – fell on deaf ears as Ifab refused to change the law. Arsenal and Manchester City were recent victims in the Champions’ League but Ifab members rejected proposals to re-word the rules in order to provide fresh interpretation.

Ifab, which comprises Fifa and the four British associations, needs six votes out of eight to approve law change and Platini’s recommendation – increasingly supported by fans and managers who consider the existing law too punitive – didn’t get it.

Instead, lawmakers deferred the issue to their two advisory football and technical panels for a more detailed look at what can be done to make referees interpret the rule with more consistency and clarity.

“There was a lot of discussion that the proposal would increase the potential for cynical fouls so the request from Uefa was not approved,” said Valcke. “It has been decided that the advisory panels will discuss it and see if there is any way to end this discussion once and for all.”

 Horne explained why the triple punishment needed to be enforced. “It was introduced post the 1990 World Cup to stop cynical tackles and all of us felt that taking Uefa’s wording carte blanche would reopen the door to cynical fouls,” he said.

“This isn’t to say we don’t understand the issues. We had a long debate about whether we could reinterpret what constitutes a ‘goalscoring opportunity’. That is clearly a red card offence. We think our decision is the right thing to do... we should remove it only very, very cautiously.”

Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, echoed Horne’s comments. “There are problems in trying to deliver more consistency because we do accept that mistakes are made in the application of the rule,” he said. “But denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity is a red card offence... and the referee has to make that decision.

“It’s such an important and emotive topic for players and clubs that we don’t want to flip-flop back to where it was. There were cynical tackles, particularly by goalkeepers, and if they know they cannot be sent off they will simply take out the attacker. When you have a situation like that, sometimes a penalty is a more difficult task [than an open goal].

“We know it’s a major topic the football community feels strongly about but it is so complex and will have such an impact that we’ve got to get it right.”

The idea of rugby-style sin-bins was also referred to Ifab’s two advisory panels for further investigation. Video replays, strangely on the agenda despite Fifa being firmly opposed, were kicked into touch when Valcke forcefully declared they would never follow goalline technology into the rule book – a timely reminder with the World Cup just around the corner.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album