English Football Is Embarrassed Once Again

It really has been one of the most shameful periods ever in English football. The game that is loved by billions across the world has been brought into disrepute in the past couple of weeks. There are many things that are wrong with the modern game, for instance the amount of money players earn a week. The main focus will be on the John Terry case, Ashley Cole’s tweet and the topic of diving.

The Case That Took So Long

The embarrassment began when the case involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand FINALLY came to a conclusion last Friday. It was the day when the FA released their written findings into the incident where Terry was alleged to have used racially aggravated and offensive language towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Following the former England captain being cleared in a court of law in the summer, he was subsequently charged by the FA. Terry was given a four-match-ban and a £220,000 by the governing body. However, before the inquiry took place, Terry decided to retire from international football with immediate effect. The 31-year-old felt that the FA had made his position “untenable” despite wrongs from both parties. At the time of the match at Loftus Road, Terry was in his second spell as England captain and his private life had been in the media spotlight in a previous incident. Now, everyone has their own opinions of the case but the fact that it took an enormous amount of time is ludicrous.

CHARGED: John Terry
It didn’t help that Ferdinand, 27, changed his mind on the events which happened on 23rd October 2011 which made things difficult for both the court and the FA. Terry’s Chelsea team-mate, Ashley Cole, provided a witness statement which was thrown into doubt by a conflicting statement by Chelsea club secretary, David Barnard. He intended that Cole had heard swearing but it wasn’t mentioned in the first statement. The reliability of Cole’s evidence was therefore thrown into question which also didn’t help in the case.

The FA have been criticized plenty of times in the past. However, this particular case has to be the most questionable. To give Terry a four-match ban is nothing but absurd when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was given double of that when he was involved in a racial incident with Manchester United defender, Patrice Evra almost a year ago. Despite the fact that Suarez repeated racial comments to Evra, it is bemusing that Terry received a shorter ban than Suarez. The FA have had a reshuffle in the board of directors with a new chairman and chief executive but it seems that their decision making will continue to make the headlines especially after what happened with the John Terry case. Cole will be the next subject of focus where the embarrassments continue but it’s fair to say that the entire case could have been handled very differently.


Cole’s Twitter Outburst

Social media has changed the in the way in which people interact with each other across the world and it has been popular amongst football fans and players alike. Twitter is the most engaging social media site to date and it has seen its fair share of good, bad and ugly moments so far. On the same day the FA released the 63-page document containing their findings in the John Terry case, Ashley Cole took to Twitter and vented his frustration by tweeting: “Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS”. This was after the FA deemed Cole’s evidence as questionable. He later deleted the tweet and apologised for his rant but the governing body charged him with misconduct on Monday. The England left-back is two caps away from the big 100 and he was looking to secure those two appearances in England’s latest World Cup qualifiers. England boss Roy Hodgson decided to rest Cole for last night’s 5-0 win over San Marino but  Cole will be hoping to be back in the team to play Poland on Tuesday.

TWIT: Ashley Cole

As previously mentioned, Twitter has seen the best and worst out of some football players. Even though Cole apologised for his tweet, it was an unprofessional error from the former Arsenal player. The general public have their ‘heat of the moment’ moments on social media but common sense should be used in the matter, which is something that Cole didn’t use before tweeting that tweet. Plenty of individuals from the football world have their own opinions on social media, although, it is something that all footballers have to be careful of and they can use #Colegate or #Twatgate as an example of how not to use it. The term ‘role model’ is rarely used among footballers in the current era. In Cole’s case, he certainly wouldn’t be a contender for players who children should consider as a role model.

Last week, the FA announced that they would be introducing a code of conduct regarding the use of social media by England players. FA Chairman, David Bernstein, has expressed that the new rules will make the players realise of their responsibilities. “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. Bernstein’s comments are completely true to what footballers should be in terms of being role models. However, as previously mentioned, it’s not a term that is used regularly nowadays with the lifestyles that footballers have.

Social media is about having the freedom to speak of your opinions but there has to be a line drawn in what can be said. Like Bernstein says, the players are representing their country and should behave in an appropriate manner. Despite what Ashley Cole said in his tweet last Friday, the FA need to get to grips with social media in terms of how the fans can get closer to their favourite players. It’s a terrific tool to see whether they have any fresh injury worries or want to spark a debate about a particular topic. In terms of punishing players, dishing out fines will not help as players can pay that instantly. It will be interesting to see if the FA can think of other punishments such as international bans, but it all depends on the situation of course.


Perfect Tens

Last but not least, the topic that gets everybody in football infuriated. Diving. The art of diving is suitable in a swimming pool but it has no place on a football pitch. Unfortunately, there have been recent incidents in the Premier League that have got everybody talking.

It is disgusting to see players of top quality, like Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, falling to the ground like a tonne of bricks. Suarez has been in the media spotlight since arriving at Liverpool from Ajax last summer. The racism row with Manchester United defender, Patrice Evra, was the main incident he has been involved in. The Uruguayan striker clearly dived to try and win a penalty last weekend as shown in the video above. It looked more of a belly-flop as he initially loses his footing. In terms of Gareth Bale, he and Aston Villa goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, were chasing for the ball until it appeared that Guzan had tripped Bale. On the replay, it shows that Guzan kicked the ball out of play fair and square but Bale dived to the ground with no contact from the American.

It is not only Suarez and Bale who have been involved in this controversy. Manchester United striker, Danny Welbeck and Chelsea duo, David Luiz and Oscar are a few examples of players that have also been guilty of diving in recent weeks. “Diving is a cancer in football.” Those are the recent words of FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce who is Great Britain’s representative on the FIFA board. “I have seen several incidents recently and I watched the latest Suarez incident two or three times. To me it is nothing less than a form of cheating.” So what can be done to prevent more players diving?

Well, as we all know, football is better known as the beautiful game.  With the recent events in diving in matches, football as a whole becomes unattractive for everybody. Every fan must be wondering, “Why would players want to dive to win an advantage for their team?” If there was an answer to why some players take to the pitch without any contact, then it would’ve come to light by now. However, for those players who dive, when have we seen a player that has admitted their actions when interviewed by the media? Never. For once, it would be honest of the player(s) who commits the offence to admit what they did and apologise. The managers involved have to be responsible in terms of telling the player(s) that it should not be tolerated. The FA should also be involved in terms of punishing players for their stupidities by giving a one or two-match-ban. Until this is in force, the sight of diving will, without a doubt, continue to happen at football grounds.