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England stars to be handed code of conduct by FA

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Hodgson warns Ashley Cole competition for his spot is 'as great as it has been'
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Hodgson warns Ashley Cole competition for his spot is 'as great as it has been'

The FA is planning to hand out a code of conduct for England players with tougher sanctions for transgressions on and off the pitch in the wake of recent controversies.

Following the ban given to former England captain John Terry for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, and Ashley Cole's subsequent abusive tweet towards the FA, it is hoped the code will improve the behavior of national team stars.

And FA chairman David Bernstein feels players will be "under no illusions" as to the severity of the penalties should they fail to abide by the code.

"Clearly, in the past, we've been hampered by not having a code of conduct, and some things have been less clear than they might have been," Bernstein told reporters.

"The reason we need this [code] is self-evident."

Roy Hodgson's squad will be handed a six-page document before next month's friendly with Sweden, and Bernstein suggests players owe it to fans to be role models.

"Of course England players should have responsibility. I feel very strongly about that," he added.

"The England players are representing their country, they're role models, their behavior is incredibly important in respect of everything else we're trying to do."

Bernstein also insisted the code of conduct is long overdue and, while it has to be flexible, there must be clear distinctions for players so that they are aware of the repercussions of their actions.

"[The code] should really have been brought in years and years ago," he continued.

"A huge amount of thought has gone into it. It doesn't contain a list of offenses and a tariff of penalties, because in the real world you don't know what's around the corner.

"There has to be flexibility, but it certainly gives the players a very clear guide as to what is permissible.

"Any sanctions will depend on the nature of the offenwe. We're not going to ban players for life, but it will be much clearer to the players, if they offend, what the list of offenses potentially are."

Despite Cole's now infamous "BUNCHOF*****" tweet being widely shared amongst football fans, there are no plans in place to ban the use of social media.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "Social media can be a very powerful vehicle for footballers and individuals when used in the right way. That's absolutely fine by us.

"But players have been told that, when they are with us, they should use Twitter in conjunction with England media officers - and when they're not, they must avoid criticism of any organizations or individuals."

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