Twitter casebook: Footballer fines

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Football News

Rio Ferdinand has sparked fresh concerns about the misuse of social media by professional footballers after he caused somewhat of a furore following tweets made relating to the John Terry case.

Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton, and the Chelsea captain was defended in the dock by club and country-mate Ashley Cole.

It was Cole who was the subject of Ferdinand's apparent dig, with the Manchester United defender particularly tickled by the comments of one Twitter user branding the former a 'choc ice'.

The term is normally used to refer to a person who is 'black on the outside and white on the inside', with Cole seemingly attracting derision for his stance in the Terry case.

Ferdinand has since moved to clarify his comments, claiming that 'choc ice' simply means someone is a 'fake', but it has since caused a 'race storm', in the eyes of prominent red top newspapers at least.

The former England captain is not the first, and will not be the last, player to have been caught out for making unguarded comments on Twitter, with Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong also causing controversy over the weekend.

Frimpong may be investigated by the Football Association after his use of the derogatory term 'yid' following abuse received from a Tottenham fan.

With both Ferdinand and Frimpong potentially facing sanction from the FA for their actions, GMF takes a look back at some other high-profile cases of Twitter wrongdoing…

Ryan Babel

Babel has the dubious honour of being the first professional footballer to have been censured for comments made on Twitter, after criticising referee Howard Webb following Liverpool's defeat to Manchester United in January 2011.

The 25-year-old, now of Hoffenheim, posted a mocked up picture of Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt and also wrote: “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH [shaking my head]."

Babel apologised soon after, but received a £10,000 fine from the FA and was warned about his future behaviour after pleading guilty to a charge of improper conduct.

Carlton Cole

Just two months after Babel was fined, Cole created uproar of a different kind when he posted offensive tweets during England's friendly with Ghana at Wembley.

The West Ham striker tweeted: ‘Immigration has surrounded the Wembley premises! I knew it was a trap! Hahahaha. The only way to get out safely is to wear an England jersey and paint your face w/ the St. George’s flag!’

After a flurry of tweets condemning what he had said, Cole attempted to defend his actions as a 'joke' and claimed it was 'not racist'. He was fined £20,000 by the FA.


Joey Barton

Barton is one of the game's most prolific and prominent tweeters and, as is so often the case on the pitch, has the potential to enter into seemingly unnecessary spats.

Rather than a fellow professional or member of the public, it was his employers who formed the focus for his anger in August of last year as Barton was transfer listed by Newcastle.

Critical comments made about club officials led to a fine of two weeks wages from Newcastle, which Barton called 'inevitable' on, you guessed it, Twitter. He joined Queens Park Rangers three weeks later.

Federico Macheda

A flurry of unsavoury remarks on Twitter at the turn of the year saw a number of players fined by the FA for homophobic comments, with the most notable offender being Manchester United's Federico Macheda.

The Italian striker was fined £15,000 for his actions a week after Newcastle youngster Nile Ranger and Notts County's Manny Smith were punished for similar offences.

West Ham youngster Ravel Morrison had previously received the highest fine for a charge of homphobia after he was ordered to pay £7000 following remarks made on Twitter.

Michael Ball, formerly of Manchester City, was also charged for similar conduct, and was fined £6000 in January of this year.

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