Published: 4 May, 2012
by STEVE BARNETT
ARSENE Wenger believes that the ugly side of the so-called beautiful game would quickly be cleaned up if more players honoured their “social contracts” to team-mates.
Discipline has again been under the microscope in recent weeks with diving, video technology and refereeing standards all being put under scrutiny.
Just a week after suggesting the introduction of “sin bins”, Wenger is now calling for the players to do their bit to improve the sport.
“They, of course, have a big responsibility because first of all they have what you would call a social contract with their team-mates, with the club, and with the fans,” he told the Official Arsenal Magazine.
“If you are playing a team sport you have a responsibility not to handicap the people who are in the same boat as you. That concerns the whole club, so when you don’t respect this contract you let people down.
“Diving for example. A guy wants to win and is tempted to use all of the tricks to help him.
You cannot reproach him on the other side that they go as far as they can to help their team to win.
“That is why I believe it is important they know how far they can go, and if they go too far they are punished.
Sometimes it is not done with a selfish attitude but with a desire to win and help their team to win.”
Wenger added that to eradicate the growing problems in English football clubs must start tackling the issues earlier.
“The best way is to educate players is when they are young so they know how far they can go,” he said. “When you want to change the attitude of a player who is 25 it is much more difficult. The big part is between 10 and 20.
“As well, I believe a big part is played by the culture of a country. For example, I came from France where when somebody made a bad tackle everybody surrounded the referee to pressure him to give him a yellow card.
“When I came to England and somebody did that it was, ‘what is he doing?’ I loved that and thought it was fantastic. But now we have brought it here slowly, you see more people surrounding the referee.”