Why do footballers cover their mouths when talking?

Why Do Footballers Cover Their Mouths When Talking?

Generally, it is important to cover the mouth while speaking in public or crowded places. This is because covering the mouth helps to amplify the sound of the individual being spoken to. In this article, we will be looking at reasons why footballers cover their mouths while talking.

Covering of mouth can be seen as a precautionary measure employed by footballers to maintain confidentiality and strategic advantage on the field. This act is also done to intensify sounds between two teammates because the pitch and stadium are mostly crowded and noisy. So, this serves as a hearing aid for the other teammate.

Now, let’s explore more reasons why footballers cover their mouths when talking.

Strategic communication

By covering their mouth when speaking, a teammate can prevent the opposition team from understanding tactics and strategies during gameplay. Footballers are, therefore, cautious about their words and actions. This gives them a better edge on the pitch.

Avoiding unwanted attention from the media and fans

Professional footballers have been trained to be conscious of what they say in public. The media is always lurking, looking for new feeds for the public.

In addition, they reduce the chances of their discussions being interpreted or misinterpreted by the media and fans’ opposition.

To protect sensitive information

By covering their mouths, footballers can make it difficult for opponents to decipher what they are saying, thereby protecting sensitive information that is being exchanged between players. This might include discussions about game plans, set-piece tactics, or specific information by coaches to teammates.

There have been various instances of alleged theft of football strategy.

One notable incident is the “Spy Gate” incident of 2019, which involved the English football club Leeds United against Derby County in a Championship (second tier of English football) match.

Leeds United, managed by Marcelo Bielsa, were playing against Derby County in a Championship match. Derby County became suspicious when they noticed an individual acting suspiciously near the training ground.

The person was seen using binoculars and taking notes during training. The incident was reported to the authorities, and the individual was identified as Benoit Delaval, an employee of Leeds United acting on behalf of Marcelo Bielsa.

This incident was seen as a breach of fair play and ethical conduct. Leeds in question had been trying to spy on their opponent to gain tactical information and strategy that could be used as an advantage for a better play during the match.

The English Football League (EFL) conducted an investigation and fined Leeds United the sum of 200,000 pounds ($259,000) for their breach of faith.

Another notable incident was in 2017. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho openly discussed his plans to use a different formation for an upcoming match against Chelsea.

Chelsea’s manager then, Antonio Conte, fed off this information and adjusted his team’s tactics accordingly, which resulted in a resounding 4-0 victory for Chelsea.

Hence, it is important to be cautious about discussing sensitive information in public forums, as opponents can exploit any available information to gain an advantage.

To protect emotional expression

Covering of mouth during play allows the footballers to vent discreetly without drawing attention. Also, facial expressions give off a lot during interviews, which can be interpreted or misinterpreted.

So covering their mouths can help mask any indication of how they feel about certain questions or the performance of a match.

As a form of mockery or insults after a game

In every game, there is always a winner and those that come after. It is almost certain that there will be a rush of emotions among those who did not win. In a situation where a team wins in the first half and ends up losing at the end of the game, there is likely going to be some sort of mockery between the opponents.

This is not done openly. Hence the players cover their mouths in situations like this to either mock or insult their opposing team. By doing this, they prevent the opponents, coaches, or even cameras from lip-reading their conversations.

As a form of relaxation

According to some sports psychologists, covering of mouth can be a form of relaxation in terms of anxiety. Different people have diverse ways of dealing with anxiety and stress. Some of which include distraction.

Covering of mouths while talking will leave one person relieved in this case and the interviewee a bit confused as to why the player’s mouth is covered.

To avoid making eye contact

footballers are trained to avoid making eye contact, especially with the media. In this modern era, little things can be misinterpreted as the opposite. An innocent eye contact can be misread by the media, thereby proposing a question in regards to that and giving the general public something to talk about.

In this case, the hand is not only used to cover the mouth but also a part of the face to avoid making eye contact.

To keep their words in check

Still, regarding the press and media, footballers cover their mouths while talking in other to keep their words in check and not knowingly or unknowingly say something that can be used against them at any point in their career.


Covering of mouth by footballers either on or off the pitch is an important criterion during their career. This is because words fly. And this could either be used positively or negatively, but mostly negatively because the opposition is always trying to win.

Hence, footballers cover their mouths while talking to others to protect their strategies and tactics, to keep their words in check, and to hide emotional expressions.

Either on the pitch, during training, or off the pitch, professional footballers are trained to protect their speech, as this gives them a better winning advantage during gameplay.

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