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Page last updated at Monday, 24 March 2008, 11:10 GMT

PFA chief demands ref no-go zones

Javier Mascherano (right) is sent off by Steve Bennett
Mascherano (right) is sent off by referee Bennett

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has called for an exclusion zone around referees to stop players' dissent.

On Sunday Liverpool's Javier Mascherano was sent off for talking back to Steve Bennett, just days after an incident involving Ashley Cole and Mike Riley.

Taylor believes more must be done to ensure players improve their conduct towards match officials.

"I have made it clear referees should be a no-go area," he told BBC 5 Live.

"It is time managers and players did accept a responsibility because what happens at the top level happens lower down.

"It is the bad points that get highlighted and the game has to be very much aware and do all it can to eradicate it."

Taylor also feels the Football Association has to do more as part of an orchestrated campaign to underline to clubs that attitudes must change.


"We have regular meetings with referees and the FA and when there are patterns developing like this then we need to take action.

"It can be done with sanctions and an educational process."

During Chelsea's 4-4 draw with Tottenham on Wednesday, defender Cole vented his anger at referee Riley when he was penalised for a bad tackle on Alan Hutton.

Cole then turned his back on the official when he was having his name taken.

Although Cole later apologised, the incident sparked a great deal of debate about players' behaviour.

then at the weekend, Argentine midfielder Mascherano was given his marching orders for questioning referee Bennett, who had seconds earlier booked Fernando Torres for a similar outburst.

Taylor admitted: "There has been a big campaign last week against dissent and respect for referees but in spite of that the message has not got through so it has to come out louder and clearer."

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