LONDON’S leading clubs are warning their players about the perils of using Twitter as the Football Association begins to clamp down on social media.
Premier League stars are increasingly bypassing press officers and their own representatives to engage with fans on Twitter, with Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas a regular on the micro-blogging site.
However, the dangers of doing so were brought into sharp focus this week when Liverpool forward Ryan Babel (below) became the first player to be charged with improper conduct relating to a tweet.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all allow their players to use Twitter but are pro-active in ensuring they do not tarnish the club’s image, or fall foul of the FA, in the process.
A spokesman for Tottenham told City A.M.: “Our policy has always been and will continue to be that we expect players not to bring the name of the club into disrepute in any way and to behave in a professional manner. This expectation applies across all forms of media.”
It is understood that Spurs specifically remind players of their responsibilities relating to new media and social media as part of their media training. This applies at all levels of the club, from the youth team to the senior squad.
Chelsea players who tweet, such as winger Florent Malouda, are regularly reminded that comments made in such public settings can be seized upon by media, and are difficult to retract. Twitter allows for posts to be deleted, but images of controversial tweets are often captured as pictures by alert followers.
Arsenal remind players of the issues surrounding the use of social media but accept that it is up to the players whether they tweet or not. It is understood the club keeps a list of those players on Twitter, partly to protect their stars against imposters setting up bogus accounts pretending to be them.
West Ham did not respond in time for publication and Fulham declined to comment on policy when contacted by City A.M.
Babel landed himself in hot water for tweeting a mocked up picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt, after the Reds lost at Old Trafford to a controversial penalty. He added the comment: “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke.”
The Tweets that shocked football
@DB11TT Darren Bent
Do I wanna go Hull City. No. Do I wanna go Stoke. No. Do I wanna go Sunderland. Yes. So stop ******* around Levy. Why can’t anything be simple?
Explanation: The England striker apologised to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy before moving to Sunderland.
@MarvinNMorgan Marvin Morgan
Like to thank the fans who booed me off the pitch. Where’s that going to get you! I hope you all die
Explanation: Aldershot suspended their striker and fined him two weeks’ wages for this rant at his own fans.
@RealKaka Kaka’s wife
A cowardly coach always substitutes a player to try to divert attention from his own powerlessness.
Explanation: Real Madrid star Kaka was forced to apologise to then Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini after his wife criticised his substitutions.
@brianching Brian Ching
Ref in Seattle just cheated the Dynamo. What a joke. Not even close. Ref is a cheat.
Explanation: The USA international was fined $500 for his referee rant.
@53Szczesny53 Wojciech Szczesny
How can you not get frustrated with decisions like that going ALWAYS Man Utds way?! It’s a clear pen and sending off.
Explanation: The Arsenal goalkeeper hit out at Chris Foy for his handing of the West Brom v Man United game.