The red card to bad language on the pitch

Share

Martin Ward, the deputy leader of the Secondary Heads Association, is so upset about the bad behaviour of professional footballers that he thinks matches should be shown on TV only after 9pm because of the bad example the players set to children. It is an interesting reaction to foul-mouthed behaviour on the pitch, and a little eccentric, not to say extreme. Censoring football matches is a somewhat impractical approach to the problem and is, in any case, unlikely to have much impact on the players concerned. Football, it is safe to assume, will continue to be tea-time viewing in many British homes.

Martin Ward, the deputy leader of the Secondary Heads Association, is so upset about the bad behaviour of professional footballers that he thinks matches should be shown on TV only after 9pm because of the bad example the players set to children. It is an interesting reaction to foul-mouthed behaviour on the pitch, and a little eccentric, not to say extreme. Censoring football matches is a somewhat impractical approach to the problem and is, in any case, unlikely to have much impact on the players concerned. Football, it is safe to assume, will continue to be tea-time viewing in many British homes.

However, Mr Ward has a point. It is true that the way footballers abuse each other and match officials can be pretty uncivilised. Fans are rarely better mannered, and, in the worst cases, descend into racist chanting and abuse of black players (as, sadly, do some managers who ought to know better). The worst of the violence, on and off the pitch, may be behind us, but verbal aggression is unfortunately very much part of the game. It is not necessary, even for the huge stakes that are so much part of the modern game.

It would be naive to try to turn football matches into nativity plays, but it should be possible to try to expunge the worst excesses of misbehaviour by players. Given the technology that is now available to officials to monitor play, it should be possible to use that same approach to discipline players if they fall below agreed standards of conduct. Such transgressions could be punished by a system of fines and, in the worst cases, by imposing match bans. Referees could pay more attention to this aspect when considering whether to caution players or send them off. Perhaps some players might usefully be offered the option of anger management courses. It might even help them play better.

The extent to which impressionable children look to football stars to set an example is impossible to measure but obviously real. Their posters adorn bedroom walls and their autographs are treated like holy relics. If our footballers were just a touch more civilised on the pitch, our school classrooms might be a little less unruly too.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas