Players warned to keep it clean as FA clamps down on swearing
Published 23:01 08/04/11 By Martin Lipton
Premier League stars have been warned to button their lips this weekend.
FA disciplinary chiefs expect all referees to clamp down on abusive swearing by players in the wake of the Wayne Rooney ban.
Swearing itself will not be punished if it is seen as a general curse but anything directed at officials, or comments questioning their integrity, will be dealt with severely.
Wembley bosses believe the two match suspension handed out to Rooney must be viewed as a line drawn in the sand.
FA insiders insist Rooney’s four-letter outburst into a Sky camera was a “unique” case justifying the retrospective action that has angered the player and his boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
But the strong view of the FA hierarchy is that referees are expected to react decisively to any repeats and incidents in which they are abused by players on the pitch.
“The Laws of the game are there to be applied,” confirmed one insider. “And it is always expected that they would be.
“We do not feel any need to remind the referees and officials of that. Law 12 states that use of abusive or insulting language or gestures should be punished and that is what we expect.”
The players’ union the PFA have not issued any formal directives to their members, but they have told club reps to warn the stars of a new attitude towards their behaviour.
Despite Fergie’s attack on the FA - which followed on from last week’s gripes at Premier League boss Richard Scudamore - Wembley chiefs feel their action over Rooney has reinforced the Respect agenda which the clubs themselves have agreed must be followed.