Wednesday 25 July 2012

Premier League issues club guidelines on social media

The Premier League has issued guidance to its clubs on player use of social media

Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny took to advertising his Twitter handle on his boots

The Premier League has issued guidance to all of its clubs regarding the use of social media by its players.

Several Barclays Premier League clubs have their own social media rules but, following requests from a number of clubs in the build-up to the 2011/12 season, the League has spent several months putting together guidelines that set out clear direction to players on the use of social media.

In compiling the guidance the League has considered the different ways in which clubs approach social media as well as taking independent advice and consulting with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and The Football Association (FA).

Benefits

The guidelines focus on a number of areas including the benefits of using social media to engage with supporters, understanding the potential audience of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and recognising that it is possible to commit offences online via social media.

"Social media is doing a good job of allowing fans to feel closer to the players"
- Richard Scudamore

Advice is offered on the endorsement of brands, goods and services, while confidential information about team selection, injuries or tactics is prohibited from being disclosed on social media.

Also outlined is The FA regulatory role in respect of disciplinary action that can be taken against players who make improper comments on social media websites.

Positive

The Premier League's view on the use of social media is that it is positive and, if used responsibly, provides a way for fans to follow and communicate with players.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore commented on social media in a recent interview and outlined the many benefits of its use.

"Social media is doing a good job of allowing fans to feel closer to the players," he said. "There is a more human side now to some of the players and the public can communicate more directly with them.

"Clearly it isn't the same as texting your best mate or talking to someone in person and sometimes there can be abusive comments, but generally the internet, online chat rooms, and the way people are communicating is healthy."

Bridging the gap

Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney), Joleon Lescott (@JoleonLescott) and Clint Dempsey (@clint_dempsey) are among those players to have bridged the gap with supporters by using Twitter to offer an intriguing insight into their views on the game and their lives in general.

The Premier League has two Twitter handles, @premierleague and @PLSpokesman and an official Premier League Facebook page.

A recent review of social media engagement with the Premier League showed that the aggregate number of Facebook likes for the League and its clubs is in excess of 60m and the number of Twitter followers in excess of 4.5m.

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Key Points

  • Guidelines offered to help players avoid pitfalls
  • Premier League encouraged by benefits of Twitter and Facebook
  • "The way players are communicating is healthy," says Chief Executive