Sutcliffe expresses concern

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Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has warned top footballers that they need to act as role models and said there should be a debate about whether to impose points deductions for clubs whose players are guilty of serious misbehaviour.

Sutcliffe said the incidents involving Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor last weekend against Arsenal had highlighted the need for the stars of the game to set an example for children.

The minister added the deterrent of a ban may not be enough and tougher measures were needed. He said: "I am concerned, because these players are role models. What we can't have is violence or apparent violence that kids in the streets may copy."

He added: "There needs to be other mechanisms to force players and clubs to recognise that.

"We all know it's a tough, emotional game but we can't continue to have these sorts of scenes. We will be looking at what suggestions there could be.

"Do we need to look at clubs losing points [for serious misbehaviour]? If a player gets banned for three games, it's easy to put someone else in there if you are a big club, though for small clubs it's more difficult.

"It's just a personal idea but football should be looking at all it can do to make sure that the image of the game."

Sutcliffe stressed the Government would not tell football how to run the sport, but acted as a "critical friend" and make suggestions.

"I can't propose that [points deductions], but it's something that should be looked to make sure that clubs and players act in a responsible way," added Sutcliffe, who was opening a £1million multi-sports centre in Silsden, West Yorkshire, built with support from the Football Foundation and Sport England.

"That's not to take the emotion out of sport. But when you come to places like here to see grassroots sports, what you don't want to see is kids diving about on the pitch or coming out with bad behaviour."

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Emmanuel Adebayor
Manchester City
Premier League

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