England football supremo Fabio Capello has decreed that his team will not be allowed to play video games during international training time, in an attempt to put a stop to the famous 'PlayStation culture' within the squad.
The rule is one of several edicts that the Italian boss hopes will instill a sense of discipline among his underachieving, highly paid charges. There will also be bans on visitors, flip-flops and hopeless route-one football. We hope.
Whether it will significantly improve the side's chances of qualifying for the World Cup remains to be seen - sounds like the O'Neal Fallacy if you ask us, not that we'd claim to know what makes a professional footballer tick - but you have to admire the PR nous of the manoeuvre: no one ever lost public sympathy by cracking down on youthful reprobates, which is exactly how the current England squad are perceived. And targets don't get much softer than dissolute, video-game-playing millionaire athletes who (with a couple of exceptions) didn't give a strong impression of caring that they won't be heading to Switzerland and Austria this summer.
But let's take the side of the dissolute, video-game-playing millionaire athletes for a moment. You're a young kid, far from home, trapped in a hotel room with only Steven Gerrard for company. The iPod has run out of batteries. You can't read a newspaper, because people will say you're gay. How do you pass the time? It's obvious: stick on Gears of War. Or, if you're Jonathan Woodgate, Dr Kawashima's Brain Training.
(Sorry, Jonathan. We don't mean it.)