Sanctioning Freedom of Speech in Asian Football – Between Fair Comment and Unsporting Behaviour

Sanctioning Freedom of Speech in Asian Football – Between Fair Comment and Unsporting Behaviour
Lately, there have been a few disciplinary decisions in Asia, which have imposed sanctions and fines upon players and coaches that had previously criticized leagues or referees. Throughout this article, we will expose some cases and ideas about freedom of speech in football, and more precisely in Asian football. The author’s conclusion is that constant and rational criteria should be established while sanctioning comments made by a player/coach after or during a match.

Freedom of speech in football

Most of the legal systems in the world have the freedom of speech as a constitutional right.

However, not all is permitted to be said in the context of football and there are limits that have to be followed in order not to overpass the freedom of speech in sports.

It is easy, in front of a camera or in a press conference, to talk too much and thus, to think that one is exercising a right when trespassing the lines.

It is true that not all the countries have the same understanding over the freedom of speech and, depending on the culture, there may be serious differences that can lead to offences.[1]

In the era of social media, this is not only a matter of answering questions before or after a match but also a matter of using those new ways of expression (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)  alone in one’s own house,...

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