England Players Code of Conduct: Items the FA Should Have Included
The English Football Association are about to get tough, really tough. In the wake of finding England's former captain John Terry guilty of racist abuse and being labelled a, "bunch of t**ts," by the delightful Ashley Cole—one of their senior players—on Twitter, the FA are launching a new code of conduct.
You might say it's overdue. You might also say it's the equivalent of bringing on your best defender five minutes after a couple of ugly headers bulged your onion bag.
Better late than never, though. After all, England fans suffer enough through the agonies of their underachieving football team, without having to also deal with the embarrassment of harboring some of the game's biggest idiots.
Said FA chairman David Bernstein, as per the Guardian:
The England players are representing their country, they're role models, their behavior is incredibly important in respect of everything else we're trying to do.
I came into this position as chairman with five things I'd identified, one of which was respect, in its wider sense, not just towards referees but player to player. I'm beginning to think it's the most important thing I've got to deal with as chairman of the FA.
The FA's code of conduct will include guidelines for using social media. There will also be clear rules for what's acceptable behavior on England duty and when England players are with club sides. And there will be an outline of what punishments might meet certain offenses.
Perhaps it should have go further? Here are some items that England fans might like to see, drawn from 46 years of hurts and the inevitable cycle of optimism followed by despair that has accompanied every major tournament appearance since 1966.
Rules of Engagement
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As high-profile professional footballers the FA finds you to be in a very privileged position when it comes to attracting the opposite sex.
Naturally, you will exploit this. The world is full of beautiful women and many of them—at least the more shallow ones—will deem an England player on their arm as the pinnacle of their ambition.
Enjoy this. But at the same time, we would ask you not to indulge in relations with the girlfriends, wives or indeed those who have mothered the children, of your England teammates.
Let this be known as the John Terry clause, part two. You should all be familiar with part one—especially you, Ashley Cole.
As an addendum, we would ask that you also refrain from the business of soliciting prostitutes. Obvious one, we know, but then so is the rule about not getting sent off and banned for the first two games of a major tournament.
Got that Wazza?
Penalty Shootout Avoidance
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This item pertains to England's penalty shootout losses at the 1990 World Cup, Euro 96, 1998 World Cup, Euro 2004, World Cup 2006 and Euro 2012.
It has come to the FA's attention that the nation has suffered enough, and with this in mind it shall henceforth be directed that England's captain be responsible for avoiding penalty shootout heartache in future.
Should England's national team find themselves headed towards spot-kick misery, the team's captain will take it upon himself to carry the ball into his own penalty area and duly put through his own goal.
The FA accept this will result in England defeat, but would stress defeat is inevitable in this situation.
As England players you will all be asked the big question in the build up to Brazil 2014.
"Can England win the World Cup?"
The FA understands fully how driven you all are. We know only too well how hard you have worked to make disgusting sums of money from the game you love.
We would ask only that you don't let your personal ambition get in the way of realism. England fans are gullible. They will believe anything you tell them, and if you tell them we can win the World Cup, millions of them will have booked flights to Rio by the time the other Rio has tweeted his rebuttal.
With this in mind, The FA are advising another answer to this question—to be delivered as follows:
"No, we can't win the World Cup. Moreover, we won't win the World Cup. Also, you can completely rule us out when it comes to winning the World Cup."
With the pressure off, The FA believes England may very well win the World Cup.
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The FA will now make it a mandatory requirement that all England players wear specially-reinforced metatarsal guards manufactured by NASA.
In the case of players the England manager does not plan on picking for World Cup 2014, this rule will be relaxed.
Being Good Rule
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It has come to the FA's attention that some of you are really rather good at playing football.
With that in mind, we are seeking to institute a revolutionary concept—one that has far-reaching implications and, who knows, may very well end a nation's 1,000 years of hurt (or however long it is since 1966).
We are asking, with all due respect (to all but Ashley Cole), that you attempt to play as well for England as you do in the giant money-making monstrosity they call the Premier League.
Steven Gerrard, you're doing better. Frank Lampard, still a long way to go. Wayne Rooney...are you the same Wayne Rooney they call the 'The White Pele' at Old Trafford?
The 'Being Good Rule' is there to remind you all what you're here for.
It's not to embarrass us with your sexual liaisons, on-field temper tantrums or Twitter rants, it's to play football like somebody who's actually rather good at it.