Monday, May 19, 2008
Could've Sworn I Heard...
FNSW and the football community have been working extremely hard to foster a family atmosphere and thereby increase attendances and the enjoyment of the game overall.
Foul language used by players and team officials is contrary to this endeavour and has no part in our game at any level.
Effective immediately, match officials who officiate at matches where players and/or officials use any form of unacceptable language that is audible by the assembled spectators and the match officials, is to immediately stop play, dismiss the offending player or official and restart play in the appropriate manner.
An automatic red card for swearing of any kind, in other words. "Audible by the assembled spectators" seems to have been interpreted somewhat broadly of late.
And anyone who has played the game even at amateur, adult level would be aware of just how ridiculous this edict is.
The majority of swearing that takes place on the field of play is directed at the player themselves, or at members of his/her own team. It's a perfectly natural reaction to disappointment in an adult, competitive situation, and attempting to curb it is a little like trying to wind back a sundial.
It's interesting that the edict refers to a "family atmosphere". As it happens, a "family atmosphere" is precisely what most of the A-League clubs offer, and most of the clubs in the NSW Premier League, by and large, don't. And there are plenty of things that the NSWPL clubs could do to ameliorate this, but enforcing a blanket ban on swearing is frankly not one of them.
Of course, excessive use of the richness of the English language is another matter, and there's certainly a case for sanctions if players (and, more particularly, coaches) provide a poor example. Sydney FC fans won't remember with much fondness Terry Butcher's expletive-ridden touchline diatribes, or Pierre Littbarski's "F--k you! F--k you!" spray at an opposition bench in 2005/06, both of which were faithfully captured on TV.
Invective directed at the referee, too, is worthy of sanction; I had no problem with Matthew Breeze sending Steve Corica off for his "f--king cheat" remark in the Sydney v. Newcastle game in late 2006. Though if Corica had used the word "incompetent" instead, he would have been nearer to the mark.
But back to NSW. Two things that I've noticed at NSWPL games this season: first, the referees have been highly selective in their swearing sanctions; second, despite being a little more careful about swearing, the players actually seem to be protesting (often in a quite petulant and futile manner) even more than usual. Just as bad an example to the young folk watching, in all truth.
And, of course, any blanket ban on swearing begs the usual question (particularly relevant in the NSW Premier League): what about profanity in other languages?
If players are so thick they do not understnd then they will when they are sent off.
It is a sport afterall
What you consider foul just may be an other everyday word in someone else's lexicon.
As a working class lad I consider people taking offense to my vocabulary to be offensive to me.
It's bloody class discrinmination is what it is.