Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lessons Soccer Can Learn from Rugby

How was the World Cup for you? To me it was overblown, over-hyped and over-coached. Too many games, too many fouls, too pampered players. Not enough flair, not enough belief, not enough joy.

The top players like Messi were harassed and kicked to death. The beautiful teams like Spain were cornered through bullying, negative, destructive game plans. Referees were shorn of effective weaponry.

Rugby is a much more disciplined, fluid spectacle as anyone watching the recent All Black/Springbok games will have noticed. The referee has absolute control and he is backed up by the Citing Commissioner. If I were Sepp Blatter (not a pretty thought) I'd learn from the game they play in heaven and institute four changes immediately:

1. Bring on the Sin Bin

Two Dutch players should have been red carded in the final. They weren't because it would have ruined the game as a spectacle. In Rugby this is overcome through the sin-binning of a player for ten minutes. In Ice Hockey, they have improved upon this to have two minute, five minute and ten minute binning. Soccer should institute a similar system and you would see an immediate end to the endless, vicious and professional fouls the game is full of.

2. Punish repeat offenders

In Rugby, if a team infringes frequently then the captain is called to the referee and given a general team warning. The next offender is sin-binned. This punishes the kind of strategy adopted by negative dirty teams.

3. Introduce a citing officer

In Rugby, a player can be cited for an off-the-ball incident post match or for an incident the referee never saw, and then banned. This has really cleaned up the game and precludes even smart ass off-the-ball offenders from getting away with it.

4. Give the referee very strong powers to stamp out dissent

When do you ever see a Rugby player arguing with a referee? Never. When does a Rugby player ever approach a referee aggressively? Never. Why? If he did he would be in breach of Rugby’s code of conduct and banned for several games. Cricket has the same template.

We are all sick of these namby pamby, spoiled footballers protesting, intimidating and arguing with referees. Particularly since we see it carried over at every level of the game, including school boy and grass roots soccer.

The isn't rocket science, it's just best practice. Wakey Wakey, Seppy Seppy.


Gianpaolo Grazioli said...

If I was Blatter... Hahah love you Kevin!!!
One Blatter is enough... But i would change everything
you said!

Patrick said...

Bravo! The whole spectacle was only brought to life by the noise!

Melinda said...

I've never watched rugby, I must admit, but looking at the image you've posted in addition to the video of the All Blacks Haka that Andy has show us at SSX many times, I think I might convert. It looks much more entertaining! :)

Leandro Oliveira said...

No way, Soccer is soccer ... you can`t change the rules like that.

Fifa absolutelly needs to use technology to the better of soccer.

As a Rugby fan, you can immagine some rules working in soccer ...but for soccer fans: no way.

Paul Rainey said...

Couldn't agree more Kevin
Spot on with every point

As for the tournament; what a contrast with the 1970 World Cup

Jason Lonsdale said...

I'll add a fifth:

Introduce the video ref (even if it only used for disputed goals)

Joseph Hoye said...

And yet soccer has a greater popularity world-wide.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, those are all good points in the context of the Spain Netherlands game, but it wouldn't be fair to use that match as an example of a typical football match.

It's grossly untrue to say rugby is more fluid than football. Rugby might be a good sport but it's not a beautiful sport.

Brett Dale said...

I dont think football (soccer) should try and learn from a minorty sport like Rugby.

Maybe Football (soccer) can learn from other GLOBAL sports like, Basketball, Handball, Volleyball, Baseball, where the foul system seems to work quite well.

These sports dont have issues with refs or umpires, and you can get to see the players as their best.

I dont think Football (soccer) should try to learn from a sport that mosy people on the planet don't care about.