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Coach invokes temporary Facebook and Twitter ban for playoffs

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Picture this: You’re a soccer team boss who’s three games away from bringing $145.5 million to the club. Yet, your players can’t seem to stay fully focused, due to all that tweeting and Facebook posting they’re doing.

That’s a concern Cardiff City Football Club coach Malky Mackay has ahead of the Championship playoff semifinals. As such, he’s banned his players from using both social-media platforms over the next few days to help keep their eyes on the prize. He pulled them out of a scheduled press conference as well.

Cardiff face West Ham United in the two-legged tie, with Cardiff hosting their rivals Thursday before the return leg next Monday. Teams who finish between third and sixth in the league take part in the playoffs for the right to be promoted alongside automatic promotion winners Reading and Southampton.

"I want the players focused on their game, their training and the two matches coming up," Mackay told the BBC. "All focus is on that and no focus is on anything else other than just living the best they can for the next seven days because there will be so many rewards for that."

Those rewards are plentiful. If Cardiff make it through the battle with West Ham, they’ll face either Birmingham or Blackpool in the playoff final. The winner of that game, to take place on May 19, will receive promotion to the Premier League.

Moving up to the Premier League means playing some of the sport’s biggest teams, such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal on a semi-annual basis. Perhaps even more importantly than that are the financial rewards.

The playoff final is often dubbed the world’s richest sports game. Promotion to the Premier League brings a reward of around £90 million ($145.5 million) through broadcasting rights, gate receipts, and commercial income.

That seems worth giving up Facebook and Twitter for a while.

Photo by joncandy