How do we clean up our game?

Joey Barton Copyright thetelf and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 2
Joey Barton

With the big kick off less than a week away, football fans the world over are eagerly anticipating the start of the Premier League season.

Can City retain their title? Who will get relegated? Will Costa be the new Drogba or the new Shevchenko?

But the question I want answering is can we really clean up the image of football once and for all this time, and how do we do it?

A league of violence and racism

In recent seasons we have seen various high profile racism incidents. John Terry and Luis Suarez, two of the biggest names in football, were both accused of racist comments on the pitch and the stories rumble on.

Danny Murphy accused certain teams of going onto the pitch with the intention of injuring their opponents with reckless tackles.

Charlie Adam has been accused of deliberately trying to injure Gareth Bale because he is jealous of his ability.

Over the past few years it has become more and more common to see footballers getting arrested for drink driving and early morning fights outside nightclubs.

These players are idolised by millions of youngsters and also represent our country to the rest of the world.

As the Premier League grows into a bigger commercial product, the people who govern it have to find a way to maintain its image.

Players have become untouchable

Currently, if a player is found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, he is likely to receive a fine from the FA. He may also be banned for any given number of matches depending on the offence.

His club may decide to discipline him internally on top of the FA punishment to try to protect their own image, normally with a fine of 2-4 weeks wages.

But these punishments are clearly not working. The loss of two weeks wages doesn’t matter to a footballer like it would matter to the fans.

These days, even journeymen Premier League players earn millions of pounds a year. The mansions and sports cars are paid for so the loss of week’s wages goes unnoticed.

This level of wealth has bred an unattractive arrogance in the modern day footballer.