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England forced to follow Twitter rules

England's players have been banned from making any match-related comments on Twitter 24 hours before a game.

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Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand have both attracted unwanted attention over the past fortnight for posting forthright comments on the popular social networking site, but the English FA have introduced a new code of conduct which outlines clear guidelines to their social media activity along with other responsibilities.

The code leaves the players under no illusions of its intent, with the inside cover offering a stern message.

"Players representing England are ambassadors for their country and role models for younger players. The highest standards of conduct and behaviour are therefore expected at all times, including when players are not on international duty.'

The code points out that comments published on Twitter regarding "the opposition, management or individuals could all result in disciplinary action''. Players will also be banned from posting the day before a game, or on match days unless they receive "management approval".

Players were presented with the code at St George's Park when they gathered for the World Cup double-header with San Marino and Poland last Monday.

Both Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have confirmed their acceptance of the code, with Gerrard stating it was "common sense'' and left no excuse for poor behaviour.

Following recent turmoil over the John Terry situation, the FA has moved to have the role and responsibilities of the England captain clearly defined by the code.

The code emphasises the privilege the position entails, as the code states the role carries "expectation and responsibility, both on and off the field".

The code also defines the captain as a "role model", who due to their heightened role will come under greater scrutiny, and if the captain does not meet the standards outlined, then Club England board has the right to strip the player of the captaincy.

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