The Plan To Stop Footballers Spitting
ENFIELD Council has sent letters warning football clubs in the north London borough against players spitting. Winchmore Hill FC was once club to have received a letter warning of £500 fines for anyone caught spitting in public - “the bye-law does provide authorised officers with the powers to prosecute those witnessed spitting. Please cascade this information to your players and those of the opposition team to avoid the risk of prosecution.”
The on-the-spot fines business is a bugbear of ours here at Anorak. But we enjoy the use of the words “cascade”, although shower could have been more appropriate.
Local cabinet member for environment, Councillor Chris Bond, explains: “The bye-law gives the council discretion over to how it is enforced and we’ll be using common sense in enforcing it. The original letter was intended to be a polite request asking footballers not to spit because it’s a revolting habit, but was overzealous in tone and did not reflect the spirit of the bye-law.”
Frank Randall, manager of Winchmore Hill Football Club’s Vets team, adds: “I think it’s almost impossible to play football without some saliva coming to your mouth … we are not spitting at someone, it’s just that you have to release it because the mouth gets very very dry. I certainly support non-spitting but in a football arena it’s almost impossible”.
A spokesman from the Health Protection Agency has already told us that spitting on the pitch is “unhygienic and unhealthy”. Spitting is something “footballers shouldn’t do” because it “could increase the risk of passing on infections”.
Opta has no figures on spitting. And we can’t be certain how many phlegm-born diseases have been transferred. But to be on the safe side is to be on the godly side, where cleanliness is all.
We’ve drawn up an action plan:
Small incinerators should be placed ever ten yards around pitches for players to toss used tissues in, or if sleeves are used to wipe noses on, shirts.
Tissues can be stored up sleeves or in pockets.
Tissues can be branded with club logos to make tissues ‘Cool’ must-have items for your football fans.
Half-time entertainment would take on It’s A Knock Out feel with the competing teams spitting into buckets. The liquid is decanted into measuring tubes, each calibrating to turn spit into quids. The winning club donates a sum to charity.
Anorak realises this would be expensive for all but the elite Premier League terms, so clubs in lower divisions will required to designate a substitute or YTS trainee as the Tissue Man /Woman to dash onto the pitch and retrieve spent tissues.
There exists the very real threat of richer players spitting with abandon to show off their wealth, a ‘look at my wad’ approach. Spitting more than three times in single match will result in a two-match man. This should keep Wayne Rooney fresh to his England duties.
If spitting occurs in downwards trajectory and lands on the pitch, the referee will stop the match for a mob, bucket and ‘Cleaning in Progress’ triangle to be deployed. The triangle could be embossed with a ‘fans of the day’s face’. This will make mopping cool.