London 2012: Woodward won’t change Twitter rules after spat

Sir Clive Woodward wants Team GB's 550 athletes to aspire to higher standard - but won't ban athletes Tweeting during Games

sir clive woodward
Sir Clive Woodward is the BOA's director of elite performance PA Photos

sir clive woodward

Sir Clive Woodward is not revising his Twitter guidelines for Team GB Olympic athletes following this month’s online spat between badminton rivals Imogen Bankier and Jenny Wallwork.

Former Rugby World Cup winning coach Woodward, Team GB’s director of sport, has strong opinions about social networking but wants individual sports to set rules for their athletes.

However, all team members and support staff will be issued with a list of expected standards – which include the use of offensive language or bans comments critical of team-mates or rivals.

Bankier and Wallwork have since apologised for their testy exchange, in which Scot Bankier questioned whether English players could serve and her rival hit back by calling her ‘crippled’ and telling her to ‘jog on back to Scotland’, insisting it was taken out of context.

But with many of the 550-team members unused to the attention and spotlight the Games will bring, Woodward wants Twitter and Facebook to be used responsibly and is determined that no-one embarrasses themselves or their team-mates.

“We have put it back to individual sports to decide what works for their athletes,” he said.

“For some athletes it might be comforting but I was interested by Corey Jane’s comments during the World Cup when the All Blacks were banned from tweeting and we remember how well they did.

“However, it will be up to every individual sport as you want athletes to be doing what they have been comfortable with at other World Championships. However, performance should always come first.”

Meanwhile, British Hockey performance director David Faulkner has revealed he will ban all players from tweeting or updating any social network page for four hours before a game and two hours afterwards.

© Sportsbeat 2012

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