LONDON: Free speech and Twitter do not go hand in hand as far as the Football Association is concerned writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

FA chairman David Bernstein spelled out that diversity of concept and practice at an anti-racism event at Wembley and barely 24 hours after Manchester United’s veteran England defender Rio Ferdinand had been charged over a comment on social networking site.

Ferdinand had offered an apparent endorsement of the term “choc-ice” on Twitter, aimed at the Chelsea defender Ashley Cole. This was all in the context of the court case in which Ferdinand’s former England defensive partner John Terry had been cleared of a racist comment offence by a court.

Terry has since been charged by the FA with using insulting language to Ferdinand’s brother Anton.

Speaking at Wembley at a gathering of invited guests from FIFA and anti-racism body Kick it Out, aimed at ending all forms of discrimination in the game, Bernstein said: “If last season showed anything it showed that there is still much to do.

“Whatever the social media manifestations the principles are the same. We must continue to be tough as a regulatory body in sanctioning inappropriate behaviour. We must bring incidents of discriminatory abuse to charge. All  participants must know the consequences of their actions.

“This goes for the Twittersphere as much as on the pitch, in the stands and in the recruitment processes across football.”


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