England football stars told how to behave

Football Association issues first code of conduct for players with national team

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 5:12am

England's soccer stars are to be issued with a code of conduct to bring them in line with other major sporting bodies in an attempt to govern their behaviour when they are on and off international duty.

The new disciplinary procedures were outlined to England's players for the first time when they met at the new National Football Centre in Burton to prepare for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

The scheme marks the culmination of eight months of work by the managing director of Club England, Adrian Bevington and his fellow board members, the director of football development, Trevor Brooking, the general secretary, Alex Horne, and FA chairman David Bernstein. The FA stressed the decision was not a knee-jerk reaction to any recent indiscretions by England players such as Ashley Cole, the Chelsea defender.

Cole has been charged by the FA for labelling the English game's governing body "a bunch of t**ts" last week in response to the questioning of his evidence in the John Terry racial abuse hearing.

Bernstein said: "Clearly in the past we've been hampered by not having a code and therefore some things have been less clear than they might have been.

"A draft code was approved at a recent board meeting and the first team has now heard in detail what it contains.

"It doesn't contain a list of possible offences and tariffs because in the real world you never know what is around the corner. But the players are now clear there are real consequences if they don't [adhere to the code]."

Bevington said: "This week is the first time we have sat down with the players and set out some basic guiding principles of what we expect from them as a group.

"I think we should have been doing this in years gone by and I take part responsibility for that."

The six-page code of conduct is expected to mirror regulations in place with the Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The document will cover three main areas: players' behaviour when they are on England duty, their conduct when not with the national team and how any breaches will be dealt with.

The FA hierarchy also briefed their players about behaviour before Euro 2012 and were, they said, delighted with the players' response.

Bernstein denied that modern players see themselves above the law.

He said: "England players should have responsibility. They are incredible role models with very high profiles and this should have been in place years and years ago.

"There has been a lack of clarity [in the past], which might have led to a bit of fuzziness. But one thing about these guys is their desire to play for and do well for England."