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Head gives players' behaviour a kicking

A leading headteacher this week described how young children cheat and feign injury after watching top sports stars in action.

David Kidd, head of Culford preparatory school, Suffolk, said: "You only need to go to a park any Sunday morning to see children aged seven, eight or nine kissing their badge when they score a goal.

"Who taught them to do that? It is symptomatic of the type of behaviour they see by professional sportsmen, which they want to mimic."

Mr Kidd has been openly critical of the effect footballers have on younger children.

In a speech to the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools two years ago, he said teachers' jobs became "that much harder" every time television cameras focused on a player pulling a shirt or mouthing obscenities.

This week, Mr Kidd said one pupil at his school, which charges up to Pounds 17,082-a-year, was withdrawn from a local football league club after a trainer encouraged the team to stand on opponents' feet as a corner was taken.

"I have been teaching sport all my life, and the sort of behaviour displayed by the top professionals undermines teachers' efforts to encourage fair play and sportsmanship," he said.

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