I was wondering the correct restart for giving a warning for dissent. In hindsight, I should not have stopped play since the offense was not severe enough for a yellow card but I wanted to calm the player down before things escalated. I gave a drop ball at the site where the ball was when I blew my whistle, but I think I should have given an indirect to the opposing team at the site where the infringement occurred. The infringement was made by a player on the field of play.
Answer (October 15, 2007):
Ah, the beauty of hindsight! And the beauty of the dropped ball in cases of referee error.
In this situation you could not have restarted with an indirect free kick, because you stopped the play for a warning, not an actual infringement. We have covered this in the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game,” ATR 5.7:
5.7 STOPPING PLAY
The referee has the power to stop the match for any infringement of the Laws, to apply advantage under the appropriate conditions, or to decide that an infringement is trifling or doubtful and should not be called at all. However, the referee also has the power to stop play for other reasons, including misconduct for which the referee intends only to warn the player regarding behavior and not to issue a caution. In these circumstances, the referee should take care that ordering such a stoppage would not disadvantage the opposing team. As the stoppage will not have occurred for a foul or misconduct, play would be restarted with a dropped ball*.