Social Media

A week or so ago Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA reminded everyone at all our clubs about their responsibility regarding ensuring that results for Under7 – Under 11s matches in any format MUST NOT be published. It is also necessary to remember that using Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter must not be used to “publish” scores, results or match “reports” on your mobile devices.

The County FA is very pleased that the response has been very positive and can we thank all secretaries who made sure their managers and parents were informed and that they remember the reason for this shared responsibility, and to remember - particularly for the younger age groups - that football is to be enjoyed and it is not always about winning or losing.

This does give the County FA an opportunity to give everyone a timely reminder to everyone, players, club personnel, officials and volunteers that they have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner relating to football at all times.

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

The County FA is fully aware that the majority of people use social media do so appropriately.

All comments on these networking sites may and should 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.

As the use of social media increases everyone needs to be careful about what they post and just as importantly the language that is used. Use of swear words, particularly the more offensive ones, needs to be a complete no go area.

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.

Incidents considered excessively threatening can, should and where necessary will be reported to the police, who have greater powers to take any necessary relevant or further action.

Here at the County FA we become aware of in appropriate usage of social media through a number of ways. Some are reported to the office whilst other examples can be picked up by everyday browsing.

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.”

The advice to social media users is to consider carefully any response to comments made. If you see something which appears contentious, it would be better to contact the County FA before even considering a response


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