Premier League imposes new rules after Arsenal star charged over Twitter remarks
THE Premier League today revealed new guidelines for social media by players, on the afternoon the Football Association charged Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong with improper conduct relating to recent comments on Twitter.
The 20-year-old responded to a Tottenham fan on July 15 and although he quickly removed the comment from the social networking site, it did not escape the attention of the FA.
Frimpong is recovering from a serious knee injury sustained while on loan at Wolves.
After posting a message on his official Twitter account earlier this month which read "if you going church today Pray For me Giving today A Miss", the Gunners midfielder retweeted a response from one Tottenham fan which read: "I prayed you break your arms and legs'', to which Frimpong replied "< Scum Yid".
It sparked a debate on the social network site among supporters from both Arsenal and Tottenham.
One was retweeted by Frimpong, which read: "You can't go around wanting players to break limbs, no matter who you play for. embarrassed to be a yid right now!"
The term has been used for decades to identify Tottenham supporters because of the proportion of Jewish supporters at the north London club.
Last year, comedian David Baddiel launched a campaign to stamp out use of the word in football chants, which can be viewed as anti-Semitic.
However, many Spurs fans use the term "Yid army" themselves as a 'badge of honour' and claim they are not offended by it.
Nevertheless, the FA took a dim view of the matter.
A statement read: "Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong has been charged under FA Rule E3 for improper conduct in relation to recent comments made on Twitter.
"The allegation is that Frimpong posted comments amounting to improper conduct and/or which brought the game into disrepute, which included a reference to ethnic origin, faith or race.
"The player has until 4pm on 27 July 2012 to respond to the charge."
Arsenal confirmed the player had been "reminded of his responsibilities when representing the club", which is understood to include internal disciplinary action.
While many top-flight clubs have their own social media rules, after requests from some teams the Premier League has - following several months work which included consultation with the Professional Footballers' Association and FA - now put together guidelines which set out clear direction to players on the use of social media.
Those focus on a number of areas including:
- The benefits of using social media to engage with supporters
- Understanding the potential audience of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
- Understanding that it is possible to commit offences online via social media
- Advice on the endorsement of brands, goods and services
- Prohibiting confidential information about team selection, injuries or tactics from being disclosed on social media
- Outlining the FA regulatory role in respect of disciplinary action that can be taken against players who make improper comments on social media websites.
The Premier League, though, views the use of social media as generally positive and chief executive Richard Scudamore said in a recent interview on the subject: "Social media is doing a good job of allowing fans to feel closer to the players.
"There is a more human side now to some of the players and the public can communicate more directly with them.
"Clearly it isn't the same as texting your best mate or talking to someone in person and sometimes there can be abusive comments, but generally the internet, online chat rooms, and the way people are communicating is healthy."