Dated: Saturday, 12 February, 2011
The FA has issued clarification to participants relating to the use of social networking sites, including, but not limited to Twitter, Facebook and internet blogs.
Participants should be aware that comments made on such sites may be considered public comment, and that further to FA Rule E3, any comments which are deemed improper, bring the game into disrepute, or are threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting may lead to disciplinary action.
Comments which are personal in nature or could be construed as offensive, use foul language or contain direct or indirect threats aimed at other participants are likely to be considered improper.
Participants are required to act in the best interests of the game at all times and should be aware of this when using social networking websites. Furthermore, participants are reminded that postings on social networking sites which they believe to be visible to a limited number of selected people may still end up in the public domain and consequently, care should be exercised with regards to the contents of such postings.
In addition, we would remind participants that social networking postings could also lead to civil proceedings being brought by affected parties.
An additional statement was also added:
All comments on social networking sites may be considered public comment by The FA.
Any comments which are improper that bring game and into disrepute or are threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting may lead to disciplinary action.
Comments about match officials which imply bias, attack the officials’ integrity or are overly personal in nature are considered improper.
Comments which include a reference to a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation or disability may be considered aggravated and attract a higher disciplinary sanction.
Re-tweeting another person’s post may lead to disciplinary action if the original comment was improper.
Deleting or apologising publicly for an improper posting, whilst advisable, does not prevent disciplinary action being taken.
An individual is strictly responsible for any posting on his/her account. Participants should take every care to ensure that others do not access their account, as the fact that posting or comment may have been made by a third party will not prevent disciplinary action being taken against the account holder.