Players' Poll: Spitting at another pro 'the worst'

More than 50% of footballers believe spitting at another pro is the worst thing a player can do on the pitch.

As part of the April 2015 issue of FFT, 123 players currently plying their trade in the Premier League, Football League and Scottish Premier League were quizzed about everything from refereeing to racism in the game.

Spitting took centre stage on Wednesday evening, after Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse and Manchester United defender Jonny Evans appeared to spit at each other during the Premier League clash at St James' Park.

I can laugh off racism, but when a player spat at me, I wanted to kill him

- Current League One player

Of the 123 players polled by FourFourTwo, 64 stated that spitting at an opponent on a football pitch was more offensive than saying something racist (42), saying something homophobic (6), diving (6) and punching a player (5).

"I've had racism," admitted one current League One professional. "I've laughed back and said: 'Whatever, d**khead'. It would usually be from a foreign player rather than an English player - it's a cultural thing.

"I can laugh off racism, but when a player spat at me, I wanted to kill him. The ref didn't see it, but I lost my head and we both got booked."

Two current Premier League players who took part in the poll would have been appauled by Wednesday's events, if their comments to FFT are anything to go by.

I know it sounds crazy to say spitting, but there's no bigger show of disrespect

- Current Premier League player

"I know it sounds crazy to say spitting, but there's no bigger show of disrespect," said one. "And you have to take it without having a go back."

While the other added: "A player spat at me once. It's disgusting - it shows a complete lack of respect. I ended up chasing the pr**k around for the next five minutes."

Read the full Players' Poll in the April 2015 issue of FourFourTwo, available in print and on iPad, which also features exclusive interviews with Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Frank de Boer, goes cruising for gay fans with Dulwich Hamlet and asks whether the away goals rule should be scrapped.