As the eyes of football fans around the world focus on the new Premier League season this weekend, the players themselves are being reminded to Get on with the Game.
That is the name of the Premier League campaign that launched in 2008 – in response to the FA’s wider Respect programme – to improve the behaviour of players on the pitch.
Following a number of high profile incidents last season – most notably Wayne Rooney’s foul-mouthed celebration of his hattrick against West Ham United – the Premier League’s Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has again called on players to remember their responsibilities.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the 20th Premier League season, Scudamore said: “We have spent the summer discussing with the players, managers and match officials how we can best tackle the elements of unacceptable behaviour we highlighted last March – visibly disrespectful behaviour, mass confrontation and the like.
“The players and managers have been supportive and the match officials understand the need to deal with these issues on the odd occasions when emotions spill over into unacceptable behaviour.”
Following consultation between the Premier League and the Professional Game Match Officials board, the next stage of the Get on with the Game campaign will focus on player behaviour, in particular:
– Visibly disrespectful behaviour towards match officials
– Players turning their backs on referees
– Players surrounding match officials
– Respect shown by managers towards match officials, specifically behaviour in the technical area and post-match confrontation
West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson said: “Referees are an integral part of our game and sometimes we are less kind to them than we should be.
“We all make mistakes – managers, players and referees. If we are caught out letting our emotions run away with us, we know the day after we are wrong and that we shouldn’t do it.
“These initiatives are really important and we really need to stress it. If you don’t behave properly, how can you expect the younger people around you to behave properly?”
Scudamore added: “We go into the 2011/12 Barclays Premier League season with a lot to be optimistic about. Last season we saw goals galore, twists and turns at both ends of the table, and stadia packed with passionate fans. We want more of the same, but with that popularity and reach come certain responsibilities.”
Have your say – will players Get on with the Game?
Do you think the Premier League’s latest push to improve player behaviour will have a positive effect? Has the message got through or do you expect there to be little change once the season gets up & running?
Have your say in our comments section below and cast your vote on your club or league website now!