From the Guardian’s Matthew Taylor :

Premiership footballers who swear at referees and cheat during games are undermining the authority of teachers struggling to cope with bad behaviour in the classroom, the deputy general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, Martin Ward, said yesterday.

Players such as Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Roy Keane were providing such a poor example to youngsters that they were making the job of teachers “infinitely more difficult”.

“When a player tells a referee to f-off in full view of millions of people on television he should be sent off, not for a repeat offence but first time, every time, however famous he may be. He would soon learn how to behave in a civilised society. And an example would be set to young people.”

Speaking at the SHA annual conference in Brighton, Mr Ward (above) also criticised the television companies for replaying controversial incidents, and said football matches should be rated in the same way as other programmes.

“Where is the moral authority of television companies in showing this to the nation? Not once, but week after week, complete with action replays. Such incidents should not be shown until after the 9pm watershed and preferably not at all.”