PFA seeks action against Jones: Trevor Haylett on the reaction to a 'video nasty' endorsed by a hard man of football

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The Independent Online
VINNY JONES found himself isolated yesterday as the football authorities united to condemn his part in a 'video nasty' in which he talks openly about the violence he says is commonplace in the game. The self-styled hard man must brace himself for inevitable punishment which could involve suspension, both from the game and the players' union.

The Professional Footballers' Association, outraged and horrified that one of its members was prepared to be so outspoken, warned it would seek an injunction prohibiting the sale of the video, Soccer's Hard Men, if it felt it was damaging to the game.

The Football Association, which has almost grown weary of the controversies in which Jones continues to submerge himself, expressed its distaste for his comments. Officials yesterday studied the video and are considering their response.

The promotion for the video talks of 'appalling fouls, dreadful dirty tricks and all the painful pushes and punches that earned hard men their legendary reputations as the wild men of football folklore'.

Jones, recently transferred back to his first club, Wimbledon, characteristically pulls no punches in laying bare the dirty tricks which go on behind the referee's back. The litany of rough stuff includes poking opponents in the eye, raking studs down their legs, picking up an opponent by his underarm hair, standing on their toes at a corner kick and grabbing their private parts - he was once photographed doing exactly that to Paul Gascoigne.

The distributors, Vision Video Ltd, made plans yesterday to bring forward the video's day of release by a week, to 12 October. It runs for 78 minutes, sells at pounds 10.99 and is supposed to be a 'celebration' of the commitment of such players as Ron Harris, Norman Hunter, Nobby Stiles and Graeme Souness.

Brendon Batson, the assistant chief executive of the PFA, said he had asked for a copy and would be talking to the FA about the appropriate action. Chelsea, Jones's former club, are also bound to be asked about the video. According to players' contracts they have to seek permission before saying anything contentious.

'If we view it as being damaging to the game we may seek an injunction,' Batson said. 'It sends all the wrong signals to the public, and in particular the football public. A lot of what Jones is saying you can't attribute to the British game.

'It's very sad because I keep hearing that he's trying to improve his image. If he chooses to stray outside the laws of the game then he must accept the consequences.'

Even Wimbledon criticised their man. 'What he has said is so stupid,' the club's owner, Sam Hammam, said. 'He must be a mosquito brain and has let himself down very badly.

'It's like Madonna showing her bum and her boobs to get people to buy her product. He hasn't done anyone any favours and I'll be talking to him about it.'