County offer reminder on social media

11:00 21 February 2014

Tempers flared during the second half of Romford

Tempers flared during the second half of Romford's Ryman Division One North clash with Aveley (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Latest news from the Essex FA

A recent case of threatening behaviour towards a local rival club on social media, culminating in a sanction being applied to an individual player, has prompted the Essex FA to remind participants that they have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner relating to football at all times.

FA regulations decree that all participants are required to act in the sport’s best interests at all times, and they should be aware that their postings on networking sites are likely to be subject to public scrutiny.

The FA recognises the use of websites such as Twitter and Facebook can be positive, but they ask that caution is exercised with the content of postings.

All comments on these networking sites may be considered public, and anything deemed improper which brings the game into disrepute could lead to disciplinary action. It is the responsibility of all football to reduce and eradicate threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting behaviour, and the interactive environment is no different.

“As a general rule, someone’s conduct online is an extension of what they do on the field of play,” said governance manager Greg Hart.

“If a player was walking down the street, and they recognised a player from another team and used threatening behaviour, the matter can be investigated if reported to the county FA.

“Incidents considered excessively threatening should be reported to the police, who have powers to take further action than football can.

“Unfortunately, the recent case of a player being punished is not an isolated occurrence. The use of social media is increasing, so this area of governance will also increase.

“The majority of people using social media do so appropriately. However, as we have again seen recently in high-profile cases, there is a minority who use it inappropriately. I’d urge anyone to maintain common sense and courtesy when using these services.”

Comments about match officials which imply bias and/or attack officials’ integrity in an overly personal nature are considered improper. Remarks which include a reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability would be considered an aggravating factor, and could attract a higher disciplinary sanction.

The county FA become aware of discrepancies by various means. Some are reported to the county office while others can be picked up by everyday browsing.

In the last year in Essex, around ten charges have been raised for the inappropriate use of social networking. High profile cases have been raised by The FA, so people are aware of the potential consequences.

Charges are raised as a ‘Breach of FA Rule E3 - Improper Conduct’ - in just the same way that they would be during a game.

It states: “A participant shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute.”

A participant is defined by The FA as “a competition, club, club official, player, match official, management committee member or member or employee of an affiliated club.”

As a result, if social networking content indicates offensive, insulting, abusive or threatening behaviour from one football participant to another, then the Essex FA can take action.

Charges which have been raised include threats to attempt to injure an opponent during a game, threats to attack someone as a result of game and general offensive comments directed towards opponents, either in a particular fixture or in a division.

Hart added: “My advice is to not always respond to comments immediately. If you see something which appears contentious, take some time away before responding - that’s if it’s appropriate to respond at all.

“What anyone should be thinking when using social media is “would my family be happy with me saying that?” If you start questioning your posting, then it is possibly not appropriate.”

The FA have recognised the need for guidance on the topic and a document called ‘Tackling Social Media’ was published in 2012 following a noticeable increase in the volume of complaints and referrals received.

A wealth of information and resources can be accessed for free as part of The FA’s ‘What’s Your Pitch’ microsite at


Latest Sport Stories

15 minutes ago
The rugby season is underway (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Win, draw and loss for rugby squads

Yesterday, 17:30
Redden Court's year nine boys' basketball team

Basketball squads impress in early fixtures

Yesterday, 16:00
James Dunne of Dagenham (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Daggers midfielder says manner of success at Wimbledon is of little concern

Yesterday, 15:00
Redden Court's under-15 girls basketball team

Basketball squads dominate borough event

Yesterday, 14:00
Marshalls Park's year eight boys (pic Paul Bennett)

Essex Cup: Robert Clack 0 Marshalls Park 1

Yesterday, 13:00
Josh Passley of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Ned Keating provides player ratings following the 1-0 win at AFC Wimbledon

Yesterday, 11:52
Redden Court's year 10 netball squad

Netball squads produce good results

Yesterday, 11:00
Dagenham & Redbridge manager Wayne Burnett (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Daggers boss freely says team were fortunate to overcome Wimbledon

Most read sport

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder