Posted by: docdenbow | March 21, 2012

Footballers Need To Take Responsibility

With the Premier League circus about to recommence this weekend, I am wondering if there’ll be any discernible changes in the attitudes of both players and managers. In the past week we have all heard heard various quotes from the football world in the wake of the truly frightening events surrounding Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest whilst playing for Bolton against Tottenham. Various players have visited Fabrice in hospital as footballers the world over as well as the general public have hoped and prayed for this young man’s speedy recovery. From reports in all of the top newspapers (and the Daily Mail) it appears that Fabrice is beginning to take the first faltering steps on the road to recovery. Whether he’ll ever kick a ball again is a moot point as getting back to “normal” health will be a major achievement. The intervention of a cardiologist who happened to be at the game seems to have been crucial to Fabrice’s survival and chances of a full recovery. We all remember the tragic circumstance of Marc Vivien Foe who was not  as fortunate as Fabrice.

In the wake of the events Roberto Mancini has been quoted as saying –

“Here in England, the best championship in the world, everything is fantastic but we need to improve the medical side for the players. We need to screen the players often, maybe two times a year and they have to be more accurate because they don’t do this. When I saw our medical procedures two years ago, I was really worried. I said to our doctor that we need to do them better. In Italy it is much better.”

I guess that he has a point, but football isn’t alone in the need for for stringent health checks of players. I suppose the same standards should be met across all sports, rugby, athletics and so on.

I do wonder, however, if any of the issues surrounding the calamity that happened to Fabrice has gone into the minds of footballers further than “what if it happened to me?” My own, probably naive opinion is that players will start to take more responsibility for their actions post Fabrice – and toughen up. Fortunately serious injury in football is pretty rare, but that doesn’t seem to stop players lying going to the turf after the slightest contact and rubbing various bits of their bodies grimacing. I’ve seen players bumped on the head and lying immobile only to be heading the ball clear into touch moments later after an encounter with the “magic sponge.” Don’t they realize that they have a responsibility to the fans in the stadium to not scare them to death by feigning injury? In the past they haven’t. What will the weekend bring?

Where the hell is the solidarity between players? What do they get out of play acting to gain some nefarious advantage? Furthermore I really hope some diving forward doesn’t fall victim of the “cry wolf” syndrome because of a bad reputation as a player actor.

We have players who don’t really appreciate just how lucky they are to be earning a small fortune for just booting a ball around a field. We have players who turn up for work pissed (Hello Roger) We have players who seem to think it’s acceptable to swear at refs and racially abuse each other.

Football is, after all, only a game, a funny old game at that, watched and enjoyed by millions.  I just wish some of the professionals around the world would remember that and act with some grace and dignity.

Ciao For Now Members Of The PFA



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