Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Rio Ferdiand the latest player to foul on twitter

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand has been a naughty boy on Twitter but he's not the first player to make a blunder on the social media site and he won't be the last. The Internet and particularly Twitter is a minefield for players and they should tread carefully. They cannot say (or write) what they like. Their online comments can cause offence and may result in punishment.

QPR defender Ferdinand has been suspended for three matches by the Football Association and handed a £25,000 fine for using the word 'sket', a term for a promiscuous girl or woman, on Twitter following a message suggesting Ferdinand's team needed a new centre-half.

The veteran defender loves a tweet but like other players he should be smart enough to know the risks.

The prospect of disciplinary action for insulting, offensive or disrespectful comments hangs over every player, including those in our Danske Bank Premiership.

Glenavon duo William Murphy and Shane McCabe were critical of referee Mervyn Smyth's performance following their match against Linfield.

Smyth has been stood down by the Northern Ireland Football League for two weeks but players should also be aware that they could face action if they post a tweet that catches the eye of Irish FA disciplinary chiefs. In 2012, then Glentoran striker Leon Knight was given a three-match ban by the IFA for comments he made on Twitter.

Just as managers must think before they speak, players should think before they tweet, particularly when it comes to questioning the competence of officials.

Belfast Telegraph

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