Football Federation Australia has announced a crackdown on news outlet providers concerning the use of puns in headlines of football-related articles.

FMF understands this initiative, a world-first in football, has been brewing for some time, with the catalyst for change coming from recent headlines such as “Mariners have a Major signing” – referring to last season’s signing of Travis Major – which caused confusion among fans and stakeholders. FFA spokesperson Kyle Patterson was quoted Thursday as saying, “When the Mariners announced a ‘major’ signing we were led to believe it was a marquee. While Major is a decent player, we can’t have rogue publications causing confusion and discord.

“Stamping out headline puns is also a reaction to the evolving nature of today’s media consumption, with 87% of supporters no longer reading past the headline of news articles. We need to ensure fans are given every chance to digest the entirety of a news story within the headline without some bored sub-editor trying to be clever.”

The Australian Associated Press was contacted for comment, with a spokesperson saying the organization is livid that FFA wants to control their play-on-word usage: “First puns, what next? Similes? Metaphors? Has someone contacted Ned Zelic and Andy Harper about this?”

AAP went on to say it’s their belief this move is designed to cater to ‘simpletons’ who do not understand the basics of subtext and double meaning. A sub-editor who wished to remain anonymous told FMF, “Whenever we reference the Wanderers, how are we not supposed use the word ‘wondering’ in conjunction? By clamping down on play on words FFA is coming dangerously close to censorship, which is very much out of character for any football organization.”