London: England boss Fabio Capello has commanded his charges to keep their mouths shut and respect refereeing decisions without voicing their personal opinions regarding the call.
There was an incident in the Three Lions' game against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA where Wayne Rooney remonstrated - after he had been taken off - when the linesman declared that team-mate Carlton Cole was offside.
His protest was met with a seething glance by the manager, who simply nodded towards an empty chair on the bench, indicating that irrespective of the ambiguity surrounding the decision, the referees must get their due respect.
The former Juventus and Real Madrid boss explained his line of thought to The News Of The World, stating that senior players must set an example to the budding stars.
"The young boys have to respect the referees," Capello remarked.
"But the example comes from the very top of the game. Always.”
"Look, if they see players with their shirt in, they will have their shirt in. Players with their shirt out, they will have their shirt out as well. And it is the same with respecting the referees."
The tactician explained that sometimes players can get carried away due to being charged-up during a match, but elaborated that they have to honour the decisions nonetheless, with minimum fuss.
"I come from Italy, where the respect for the officials is not great," he explained.
"But we have to respect the referees.”
"Sometimes the players make mistakes, sometimes the managers make mistakes. Everyone can make a mistake. You have to accept the decision of the referee, whether it is right or not right, because it is made honestly. I tell my players to respect the officials and their decisions.”
"Once the referee has decided it is a free kick for you or your opponent, he has decided."
Capello deemed that a referee can be asked to justify a questionable call, but remained resolute that it must be carried out in a calm and orderly fashion.
"In the Community Shield, I thought it was okay that Rooney and a couple of other Manchester United players asked the referee why he had done something," he affirmed.
"But doing it with respect is so important. Not just for the players but for the fans.”
"Young fans have to realise that respect is important. Respect for the teacher, for example."
He then turned focussed on the remonstrations that take place on the international stage, and elaborated as to why national team players should put on their best behaviour on the pitch.
"At international level, dissent is worse," he continued. "It is never good, not at club level or anywhere.
"But at international level, you are representing a nation, a flag."
"If you get a yellow card for arguing, it is really stupid. Really.”
"Right or wrong, the referee has decided and it is his decision.”
"When I was at [Real] Madrid, I decided players had to pay money - a fine - if they were booked for dissent because it is particularly stupid."
Steve McClaren's successor finally fired a warning shot to his charges, hinting that they may not receive a call if their behaviour on the pitch is questionable.
"When I was working in Milan's academy, I told the parents that if they shouted one thing about another player or about anyone, their son would not play, no matter how good he was," Capello concluded.
First Published: Saturday, August 22, 2009, 17:31