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Pundit calls for ban on footballers drinking

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has sparked fierce debate with his suggestion that a no-drinking rule should be enforced for players of the beautiful game.

His piece in The Mirror was prompted by pictures of Manchester City player Jack Grealish partying in Las Vegas. Collymore argues: “The science is clear – alcohol ­seriously decreases athletic ­performance, which is why Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and James Milner steer clear.”

He continues: “The sport has unwritten rules about not riding motorbikes or participating in extreme sports, so why not throw drinking into the mix as well?…I wish my clubs had been ­stricter with me because there’s plenty of time for drinking after football if it’s something a player wants to do.”

Collymore’s crusading continued on Twitter, where he posted: “I drink and enjoy it. I just don’t want a player who I love watching and who I care about making the same mistakes I and others have made.”

Replies on social media suggest that his prohibition proposal has not been universally well-received.

Many of the responses said that how players live off the pitch is their business: “It’s his [Grealish’s] end of season break and time off work, players can do whatever they like!”

Another stated: “If you care about him wouldn’t it have made more sense to, I dunno, speak to him in person? Rather than make a mockery out of him on social media?”

One user suggested that a blanket ban on booze was not the solution: “I don’t mind clubs making that decision for themselves but don’t want a governing body getting involved. We can’t just take away players’ freedoms because we don’t like their choices.”

Others argued that the issue ultimately stems from a national drinking culture: “English football has been so far behind in this regard.”

Though Collymore made no suggestion about curbing alcohol consumption among supporters, fans will have to be cautious when visiting Qatar for this year’s World Cup.

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