KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: T-shirt proclamations such as Mario Balotelli’s: ‘Why always me?’ have been relegated to history by football’s law-makers.
The annual meeting in Zurich of the International Football Association Board decided to bring rules and regulations concerning football underwear into line with the main kit.
Jerome Valcke, secretary-general of world federation FIFA which played host to the meeting, said: “It was definitively decided that undergarments must not have any kind of slogans or statements. It must be clean.
“We have also decided that this will apply to the World Cup and will be enforced from June 1 and not July 1 as the other decisions.”
Slogans revealed by players in delight at their goalscoring exploits have included tributes to children, wives, sponsors, team-mates, to major international figures such as Nelson Mandela but also to political causes.
Balotelli’s most famous T-shirt exploit was during his Manchester City days when his self-righteous T-shirt display followed a stream of controversial incidents including setting fire to his own home with fireworks.
In 2012 Denmark’s Nicklas Bendnter was fined by £80,000 UEFA after revealing a sponsor’s logo on the waistband of his underpants during a goalscoring celebration in a game against Portugal at the European Championship finals.
IFAB comprises the four British home nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – and FIFA which has a balancing four votes in its role as the world federation. A three-quarters majority is needed to approve any change in the laws.
Alex Horne, general secretary of the Football Association, rejected a suggestion that the slogan ban took an element of ‘fun’ out of the game. He said: “The idea is to create basic consistency.”
Jonathan Ford, ceo of the Football Association of Wales, said: “Some of us did think this might appear a little churlish but how you determine what is right and wrong between different countries and cultures is very complicated so it’s easier to say it’s got no place in the game.”
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