Lessons Football can learn from Rugby

Posted by on Monday, March 12, 2012 Under: Rugby
The England Rugby Union team beat France at the weekend with a display of unbelievable discipline and skill amongst a Parisian crowd baying for English blood. If the England football team took one ounce of passion from their Rugby playing counterparts then we’d go a long way further with the round ball that’s for sure. It’s true what they say that football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs and that Rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen, and maybe there lies the problem, within two different sports there are two completely different cultures within both the people who play the game and the supporters. Of course both rugby and football have their merits, passion within the supporters is probably the biggest one they share, however there are certain aspects of the game of rugby that are streets ahead of football, and here are some of my thoughts:
Salary Cap

Both Rugby League and Rugby Union operate a salary cap within their respective leagues. The Aviva Premiership has a cap of £4m which they can spend on wages in the 2011/12 season with the aim of creating a more competitive league and a sustainable business model. Would a salary cap work in football? Granted, there is so much more money involved in the game, especially in the Premier League, and it would hinder our clubs when competing in Europe and attracting the best players, therefore maybe introducing a cap in the lower leagues would stop instances of teams going into administration, something which seems to happen every week these days causing much heartache for loyal supporters and club staff. 

Referee Discipline
When it comes to respecting the referee, there’s only one sport that comes out on top. It’s amazing how much football players argue with the referee, do they actually think that the official will change his mind purely on the basis of a barrage of foul mouthed abuse? Having said that, why do referee’s put up with it?! All it would take is a minor rule change that could eliminate dissent in an instant. In Rugby, if a player argues, a penalty is awarded 10 yards further to that players try line, simple.

Goal-line Technology

Every now and again, a controversial decision crops up in football regarding goal line technology and it happened last weekend with QPR versus Bolton at the Reebok Stadium. Rangers’ defender Clint Hill clearly headed in but the goal was never allowed as the referee was unsighted. In both codes of rugby, they use technology to determine whether a try has been scored or not and for most cases, a correct decision is made in no longer than 3 minutes thus avoiding any discrepancy on the pitch and debate for months after the game. In football, goal-line technology appears to be creeping closer, FIFA and in particular Sepp Blatter has been of the opinion that the top echelons of the game should mimic as closely as possible grass roots level, which is strange considering most Sunday league matches don’t even have linesmen.

Beers in the Stand
A decision which was outlawed during the Taylor report, football fans aren’t allowed to take alcohol into the stand whilst watching the game. The complete opposite in Rugby, but then again both sets of fans sit together whilst they sip on their pints discussing the finer points of a spear tackle, a certain irony you would think. Fans drinking in the stand is a distant dream for the game of football though, there are too many idiots and narrow minded individuals bringing the game down to ever get that rule changed, and with the Premier League’s mass appeal there’s far too much to at stake than for the world to see a larger lout in the stand throwing a beer bottle on the field of play. 

What other lessons could football learn from rugby?

In : Rugby 

Tags: salary cap  rugby v football  goal line technology 
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