By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes the football authorities should identify a strict punishment and stick to it if they want to eradicate dissent from the game.

The issue has been high on the agenda this week following reports of alleged on-field abuse involving Premier League players followed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter's assertion that racial discrimination can be settled by a handshake.

It was put to Wenger at his pre-match press conference that some taunts are made in the heat of the moment but he thinks that is a dangerous notion.

"Once you go that way you accept everything, or you go to zero tolerance," said Wenger.

"The players will always adapt. They know that when they are punished, when they do it, they will shut up. If you say at the start of the season you cannot talk to the referee but once a player abuses a referee and it is not punished, it is finished.

"If it is punished and he is off the pitch the next one will not do it. So if you go in and say that it is in the heat of the game and you have to forget it, then you don’t know where to stop what is acceptable or not acceptable.

"For you something might be acceptable and for me not. So that is why it is better to go into zero tolerance mode.

"The other problem is that it is your word against my word if we have a fight on the pitch. You need a credible witness but usually a partner of the player in the same team can’t be a credible witness.”

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18 Nov 2011