Swearing on the football pitch has 'gone too far' and the sport's authorities should do more to tackle it, according to a Cabinet minister.
Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt's comments came after John Terry was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday. It was alleged that he had maliciously called Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand a "f****** black c***" during a match on October 23 last year.
The Chelsea captain's trial revealed foul-mouthed exchanges between the two players during the match and Mr Hunt said something must be done about it as footballers need to set an example. He told ITV's Daybreak: "I do know a little bit about this because I'm a qualified football referee. I've been at the receiving end of it and I do think that it has gone too far."
He added: "I would like to see the football authorities do more because I think we just have to recognise that football has huge influence on thousands and thousands of young people and we do need footballers to set an example."
Terry won what was one of the biggest battles of his sporting life after Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said an acquittal was the only verdict he could reach.
The wrong result would have spelled the end of Terry's international career, destroyed his reputation and potentially cost him a fortune in sponsorship and other deals.
The district judge said that, despite the abundance of TV footage, there was no way to be sure what Terry had said.