Caution players who show dissent

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Dissent- 1. To differ in opinion or feeling; disagree.2. To withhold assent or approval (according to http://www.thefreedictionary.com)

Dissent in football, according to the official Fifa football laws book issued to all referees, is punishable by a yellow card. If the referee finds the dissent offensive, a red card can be shown. Recently, referees, in the main, seem to not punish dissent.

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Rooney sarcastically applauds referee Neilson in 2005

There are cases of players being punished for showing dissent. Wayne Rooney was shown a second yellow card after sarcastically applauding referee Kim Milton Neilson. The incident happened in a Champions League tie against Villarreal, in 2008. Rooney was booked for a foul on Quique Alvarez, and clapped Neilson’s decision sarcastically; he was, quite rightly, shown a second yellow card. More recently, Álvaro Arbeloa was shown a second yellow card for dissent against Galatasary. Arbeloa received a caution from referee Stephane Lannoy after fouling Wesley Sneijder in the 89th minute. He disagreed with the decision and made a ‘Cuckoo’ gesture, swirling his finger around the side of his head. Lannoy saw this and awarded Arbeloa his second booking for obvious dissent.

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Arbeloa is sent off after receiving a second yellow card for dissent

This is what should happen more often. In most Premier League games, players often shout at referees and sarcastically clap decisions they do not agree with. Wayne Rooney is a prime offender for shouting abuse at referees, despite him saying after his sending off in 2005: “I learned from that. I made sure I did. It was a big turning point. You don’t want to be in the dressing room wondering what you could be doing for the team if you were still out there.” Papiss Cisse was also very lucky to not be shown a second booking against Benfica after constantly berating the referee. One of the best examples of sarcastic clapping would be Barcelona’s Jordi Alba against Bayern München. Alba, who should have been sent off for throwing the ball at Arjen Robben’s face, clapped the referee after he had been cautioned and also shouted some obscenities. We also see players surrounding the referee, demanding a decision. Manchester United are prime offenders here, with one key ringleader being Rio Ferdinand. The players who do this should also be booked.

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Manchester United are prime offenders for surrounding referees

There are many other examples if players showing blatant dissent towards referees. Watch tonights Champions League tie, Borussia Dortmund V Real Madrid, and I bet you will see numerous examples of dissent from multiple players. I also feel that the dissent will go unpunished. Dissent in football is not right and, more importantly is against the rules of the game. Referees should caution any player who shows dissent towards them, no matter what the player’s ability. Laws are laws and they should be followed at all times. If the law is broken, the offender should be given the correct punishment, just like it is off the pitch.

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