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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
FA introduces code of conduct for players

ESPN staff

The Football Association is set to enforce a code of conduct for players, which aims to ratify issues including social media use and behaviour when representing England.

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England players are expected to sign the document ahead of next month's friendly against Sweden and FA chairman, David Bernstein, insists the code is not a knee-jerk reaction to recent incidents involving Ashley Cole and John Terry, instead saying it should have been done "years ago".

"The England players are representing their country, they're role models, their behaviour is incredibly important in respect of everything else we're trying to do," Bernstein said.

"I feel very strongly about that. It should really have been brought in years and years ago. Clearly in the past we've been hampered by not having a code and some things have been less clear than they might have been."

The FA consulted with the Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board when talks began in January this year to assess how to improve the disciplinary process.

There will be three sections to the code: general conduct, pertinent whether the player is representing club or country; conduct when players are with England; and how the governing body will handle breaches or alleged breaches of the contract.

Bernstein admitted that past misdemeanours have reiterated the need for more transparent guidelines, commenting on the punishment handed to Ashley Cole following his Twitter outburst.

"We're not going to ban players for life but it will be much clearer to the players, if they offend, what the list of offences potentially are," Bernstein said.

"Ashley Cole came to see me, which was very unusual. He was very contrite and emphasised that what he'd done was in the heat of the moment. He had publicly apologised and withdrawn the Tweet as quickly as he could.

"I believe he has been punished by Chelsea and he's been charged by the FA. Our strong view was that it was unfortunate, and something we viewed very seriously, but that it wasn't a capital offence.

"The idea of not allowing him to play for England would have been disproportionate. I think the public will be happy to see the manager have the decision and I am happy with that."

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