England

New code of conduct for England

English FA chairman David Bernstein met Ashley Cole on Monday.
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BURTON, England

England players will run the risk of getting themselves suspended from the national team if they significantly breach a new code of conduct.

NATIONAL TREASURE

Click here for pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opening the new National Football Centre at St George's Park, Burton, in England.

It is hoped the new code, which was outlined to England's current squad at St George's Park on Monday evening, will be in place in time for next month's friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg.

FA officials have been anxious to stress no tariffs are being incorporated into the code, which it is hoped will bring some clarity to a rather complicated disciplinary system.

However, they accept in the worst-case scenario, suspensions are a possibility.

"If someone transgresses in a way that brings the integrity of the team or themselves or the organization into question, we have the ability to warn them, or if we deem it appropriate, under significant circumstances, to suspend them from England," said Club England managing director Adrian Bevington.

All sides accept a code of conduct for England players is long overdue.

The present process has been underway since January.

During the intervening period the FA have lost the services of Fabio Capello and John Terry, and found themselves bearing the brunt of Ashley Cole's outrageous Twitter rant which cast a shadow over yesterday's landmark opening of the National Football Centre at St George's Park.

And whilst FA chairman David Bernstein is anxious to spell out no connection should be made to the code and the actions of Cole and Terry, who has still to decide whether he will appeal against his four-match ban for making a racist slur at Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in October last year, it is clear its publication cannot come quickly enough.

"I came into this position as chairman with five things I'd identified, one of which was respect, in its wider sense," he said.

"Not just towards referees but player-to-player, the whole respect agenda.

"I'm beginning to think it's the most important thing I've got to deal with as chairman of the FA."

Cole sought out Bernstein on Monday to apologize for labeling the FA "a bunch of T***s" on Twitter last Friday.

It was a reaction no-one could possibly excuse - and one it is hard to imagine being aired within a club environment where there is no such blurring of the lines between team selection and overall discipline.

Bernstein thinks so, not least because he gets the strong sense England's players actually want to be there.

"These guys share a desire to play for England. They really do value it," he said.

"But the FA is a complicated organization. Having the whole regulatory side alongside Club England has created a degree of confusion.

"There has been a lack of clarity and the fact we haven't sat down with them has led to a bit of fuzziness."

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