Social media: think before you post
Wednesday 01 August
Social media have become an integral part of everyday life, also for professional footballers. Many players have their own account.
Unfortunately, some players are coping with difficulties managing their account. FIFPro wants to remind all players to exercise caution and use common sense when posting messages.
In recent weeks, four professional footballers have made the headlines with posts on their Twitter account: Rio Ferdinand, Emmanuel Frimpong, Hope Solo and Michel Morganella. Some of them have crossed a line by publishing inappropriate language, be it intentionally or unintentionally.
FIFPro is of the opinion that all professional footballers should be aware of the risks they face when posting on Twitter, Facebook or other social media. FIFPro is absolutely not advising against the use of these social media, but wants to remind the players to use their common sense when posting.
The Scottish professional footballers association (PFA Scotland) has created a Seven Point Criteria for Players using social media. Jack Ross explains: ‘There is no doubt that social networking sites can benefit a player by enhancing his reputation, allowing him more interaction with fans and increasing his commercial and media opportunities. However, problems can arise if this fantastic medium is not used correctly as the most severe consequences of any inappropriate behaviour or comments can be civil proceedings and/or sanctions by a club and the Scottish FA.’
‘Since the beginning of last season we have issued players with guidelines on the use of social media via our newsletters and website. We believe it is essential that players are aware of their responsibilities and become educated on what are appropriate postings on social media sites.
While there are clubs providing players with their social media policy ensuring that any breach of them could lead to club disciplinary action, the procedures provided by the Scottish FA’s Judicial Panel Protocol mean that players can face sanctions such as match bans for comments which are deemed to bring the game into disrepute.’
Ross: ‘We have therefore given players a simple seven point criteria which they should refer to if using social media. Players opinions are not sought often enough on football matters despite them being the ones who play the game and have the greatest experiences of being on the pitch. Therefore an opportunity for players to express these opinions should be cherished albeit with a degree of sensibility.’
PFA Scotland Seven Point Criteria for Players
- Avoid commenting on matters relating to referees and internal club matters such as team selection.
- Avoid making instant comment
- Avoid being critical of those who hold positions of authority within football
- Ask yourself if you would make the same comment in front of live television cameras
- Remember that the media patrol footballers’ sites and can publish any comments made without your consent as blogging is considered to be in the public domain
- Be completely certain of the accuracy/legitimacy of what you are saying
- If you are unsure as to whether a post may be controversial don’t post it!
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