To better understand what I prefer to call penalty box pantomimes, we need to look at the law governing charging or barging an opponent.
“Charging or barging an opponent is accepted as a challenge for space using physical contact WITHIN PLAYING DISTANCE OF THE BALL without using arms or elbows”.
What currently goes on in the box prior to the taking of a free kick or for that matter a corner is a complete disregard for the law because pushing and shoving which is the same as charging and barging is illegal without the presence of a ball within playing distance of those involved.
The situation is even worse at a corner when attacking players consider it a right to barge their way in to surround the goalkeeper to prevent him for coming out to intercept the ball after the flag kick has been taken.
The rule in question clearly states that it is an offence to restrict the movement of the goalkeeper by unfairly impeding him at the taking of a corner kick.
Some commentators and pundits have suggested that players have the right to stand in a spot of their choosing, which is fair enough provided no one else is already on the spot they wish to occupy because barging a way in is an offence.
Referees should take quicker action than they do by an immediate warning to the players involved that pushing and shoving will not be tolerated, followed up if necessary by the awarding of a free kick and, if necessary an appropriate coloured card. The normal colour is yellow for an pushing and shoving but if any player becomes abusive give him a red one.
There may be a bit of moaning and groaning from managers, players and even pundits because of their rule bending instincts but sooner or later they would get the message.
There is no intent to get at referees here because their job is hard enough without the persistent shenanigans of the players, and all I would ask of the officials is consistency of decisions.