10 clips of footballers using ‘sign language’ – starring Bale, Neymar, Fergie and Joey Barton

Posted on June 12, 2014



Forms of what could be deemed ‘sign language’ – or at least visual communication – are wide-spread in world football. With the dazzling mix of nationalities and languages at the World Cup, gesture and sign will be used by players, managers and referees in every match.

Here are ten examples of what might be termed FSL (that’s Football Sign Language) in action:

1. Alex Ferguson: ‘time’

Here Fergie reminds the referee of the time. While Man Utd are in the lead, obviously.

2. Gary Lineker: ‘watch him’

Gary famously used sign to show concern for Gazza at the World Cup in 1990

3. Rafa Benitez: ‘Change and move along’

Rafa not only controls his players with his hands but apparently the TV company too!

4. Fabio Coentrão: ‘Frustration’

Fabio wants to convey to Neymar just how annoying he finds him and if he was allowed, he’d rip his face off. Not sure what the ‘keeper is saying though.

5. Arsene Wenger: ‘diver’

Arsene shows us the international sign for diving footballer. 

6. The Referee: ‘nonononono’

Referee’s deal with players and managers from around the world. Anywhere you go, this means ‘no’

7. Referee II .. er

I’m not sure what all this means.

8. Gareth Bale: ‘Sweetheart’

Gareth often shows the sign for sweetheart when he celebrates a goal 

9. Joey Barton: ‘big nose’

Joey reminds Zlatan Ibrahimovic of one his physical characteristics. 

10. Rafa Benitez II

Finally, Rafa again here with some complex moves. I wonder if the players actually understood?

See what I mean? I say basic football signs should be part of football coaching qualifications because forms of ‘sign language’ already exist in the game – so why not make proper use of it?

The real signs aren’t hard to learn and their use could open the door to football for thousands of deaf players who are otherwise left out of the mainstream game.

It happens in baseball .. Enjoy the World Cup.

By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor. 

Andy is Chairman of the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society and teachessign language in primary schools. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP

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