PFA chief Gordon Taylor questions total Twitter ban
Last updated on .From the section Football
Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor has urged clubs not to ban players from using Twitter.
Newcastle's Joey Barton is the latest in a string of stars to have caused controversy with comments on the social networking site.
"It is not necessarily good enough to say it is 'no, we don't have it at all'," said Taylor.
"We really need to get out heads round this issue and try to get a criteria that is comfortable for everyone."
Taylor admitted that players had to take care with what they posted on the site, but insisted that the website could also bring players closer to fans.
"Every person has got the right to speak in public so long as it is their own point of view and it does not reflect badly on their employers, the game or other personalities in the game," he said.
"If it is defamatory then it can then be used against that person in a legal manner for compensation.
"It is not an easy thing, but used in the right way it can help with relationships between players and supporters," he added.
Newcastle have warned their squad that they may be in breach of their contract if they criticise the club on Twitter, after Joey Barton used it to question transfer policy at St James' Park.
The midfielder was subsequently offered to other clubs on a free transfer.
Manager Alan Pardew admitted that Twitter was a growing area of concern amongst top-flight managers.
"I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson, and United's policy is that nobody at their club can comment about the football club on Twitter," he said.
"Sir Alex shared with me quite ferociously how difficult this Twitter issue is for clubs, particularly managers."
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, a predecessor of Pardew's in the Newcastle dug-out, admitted that he wanted to stop his players using the service entirely, even if club policy remains more lenient.
"Ban it. It is uncontrollable. It just gives an opening for too much abuse," he said.
"It's a great piece of technology, but in most cases it gets people into far too much trouble.
"What we've said is you can't use it as regards information about the football club and anything that's confidential."