Leeds United Director Faces FA Charge After Offensive Social Media Messages

As if there were not enough examples of ‘poor judgment’ in the press recently over social media related incidents, another prime example slightly closer to home has today emerged.

Following on from my presentation at the Castleford Tigers Third Thursday Networking Event, where I gave a presentation on the do and don’ts on social media (from both employer’s and employee’s perspectives), it has today been revealed that Leeds United Director Edoardo Cellino, son of the infamous owner Massimo, has been charged for breach of the FA rules, namely that comments he sent via twitter to fans were “abusive and/or insulting and/or improper in contravention of Rule E3(1).”

Whilst the FA have not released the full content of the messages, they have mentioned that the messages included a specific derogatory reference to disability. According to the reports Mr Cellino called a fan a “spastic” through twitter.

In a statement released by Mr Cellino he suggested that he did not understand the severity of the words he used as English was not his primary language. He has until 11 April 2016 to respond to the charge.

The full statement from Mr Cellino can be read below:

“I would like to apologise for any offence that I have caused.

After receiving a lot of abusive messages my emotions got the better of me and I reacted in a way that was unprofessional.

I believe the messages were private but I know I should have not done this. I did not fully understand the severity of the words used as English is not my first language. Again, I can only apologise.”

This is a prime example of how somebody sending unprofessional messages via social media even in their personal capacity, can create problems for them professionally. Rather ironically, this is not the first time that senior board members at Leeds United have been involved in issues relating to social media misuse. However, given that in this case the director responsible is the son of the owner, I would suggest he may well avoid any disciplinary proceedings that would probably follow if he were not related to the owner of the club!

If you require any advice on general social media misuse whether from an employee’s or employer’s perspective then feel free to contact me on ianabel@michaellewin.co.uk for confidential advice. I am also happy to send anyone who contacts me a free social media policy to help avoid issues such as the above at your organisation.

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