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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 11:45 GMT
Adams to lead clean-up
Arsenal captain Tony Adams
Adams served a prison sentence for drink-driving
Arsenal captain Tony Adams, a recovering alcoholic, has been asked to spearhead a campaign aimed at cleaning up the game's tarnished image.

Players' professional and personal indiscipline has dealt shattering blows to England's national game in recent weeks.

Chelsea stars John Terry and Jody Morris, and Des Byrne of Wimbledon have pleaded not guilty to charges of affray and causing actual bodily harm in a nightclub incident last week.

And the reappearance of hooliganism and racism on the terraces, as well as evidence of a rampant drinking culture, have further damaged English football's reputation.


Clubs have got to be able to make discipline stick
Graham Kelly
Former FA chief executive

Adams is one of a number of high-profile players, including Paul Gascoigne and Paul Merson, whose careers have been disrupted by alcohol abuse.

As part of the new initiative, Adams, Gascoigne and Merson will tour clubs across the country.

They will urge young players to avoid their past mistakes and help restore the game's good name.

The scheme is backed by the promise of much stronger discipline, as the Professional Footballers' Association has agreed that the limit of fining players two weeks' wages will be lifted in serious cases.

Chelsea had called for the right to fine players more than the current maximum of two weeks' wages.

Chelsea managing director Colin Hutchinson believes harsher fines are the most effective way of deterring any serious misbehaviour.

Kelly support

The PFA's concession on player fines is, however, coupled with a strong demand for managers and clubs to take more responsibility for the misbehaviour of their players.

The FA has also been called upon to deduct points from clubs with poor disciplinary records.

Aston Villa's Paul Merson
Merson has fought drugs and drink addictions

Former FA chief executive Graham Kelly has backed the proposed Adams-led campaign.

Kelly told BBC Radio Five Live: "(League Managers' Association) chief John Barnwell and the respective chief executives have got together and it's something very similar to a phrase you've heard before - education, education, education.

"The clubs have paid lip service to it in the past but haven't really got behind players.

"They throw a lot of money at them but haven't really given them the protection they deserve.

"I think if it's inculcated into players at an early age by people who have almost had their career lost to unpleasant experiences then players will listen.

"Players who've been down this road have a lot to offer to younger players and if one or two learn from it then it's a worthwhile initiative."

Kelly also backed the idea of increasing the maximum fine.

"Clubs have got to be able to make discipline stick," he said.

"They have to make it mean something to the players, this is the only thing players understand."

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Former FA chief executive Graham Kelly
"A fine of two weeks' wages is a drop in the ocean"
See also:

10 Jan 02 |  Worthington Cup
Fans under scrutiny again
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