Football or Soccer and Rugby are two completely different games and going in different directions. Despite football being more popular there are many aspects from rugby that could be used to improve the overall image of the game. Rugby is more physical yet more gentlemanly than football. There are many aspects of rugby that football can and should learn from. Football needs changes despite that the likes of UEFA and FIFA may say.
The TMO (Television Match official) System
Within the game they are known as the fourth official and by allowing the referee to stop the game and consult with them it stop´s there being any controversy like whether a try has been scored, the ball was grounded or not or if the referee has missed an off the ball incident for example. The TMO has the advantage also of being able to see the key moments from a variety of angles in order to then advise if necessary the match referee of his decision. The referee is also allowed to review the incident on the main screen in the stadium and if necessary reverse his original decision.
In both football and rugby if a player is bleeding he has to correctly leave the pitch. But in football the player must either change his shirt or get the bleeding under control. The problem with that is his team is still playing but with one player less. In rugby there is what is known as a “ blood replacement cause “ which means that if a player leaves the game to have the bleeding treated a replacement can take his place until he returns. No team has a numerical advantage.
The Supporters and Fans
It doesn´t matter where you go in the world or if it is a club game or an international game, rugby fans all get on together and with no problems. Even in the most biggest of games there is no need for a huge police presence even when the fans have been drinking before or during the game. There is never any trouble. Fans are not separated at stadiums and sit happily together. Whether the game is a final or has had many incidents the atmosphere and banter amongst each other is friendly and good natured.
All Are Welcome
Tall, small, thin, fat, fast, slow, poor, rich it doesn´t matter. What size and shape you are in isn´t important. There is always a place for you in the team. As a player of fan rugby is an all inclusive game and nobody is left out.
In football a player is often happy to receive a yellow card if it stop´s the opposition from mounting a dangerous attack. In reality it has no real effect. In rugby when a player receives a yellow card they are asked to leave the pitch for ten minutes before they can return. If the player receives a second yellow card they have to sit out the whole game. It is common to find a player receiving a yellow card for stopping the attacking team from scoring a try. Whereas anywhere else on the pitch the same player would have given away just a penalty.
When you watch the national anthems being sung in a football game it is very common to see no reaction from the players and many of them if not all do not know their country´s own national anthem. One would think that playing for your country, in a final or semi final for example and in front of millions would invoke even a bit of passion but it doesn´t. Whereas in rugby you have the passion of the New Zealand All Black´s when performing the Haka for example and it is very common to see players singing with a lot of emotions and loud renditions their national anthems. Often their faces also give it away as to how important it is too. Rugby players give their all and sadly footballers don´t anymore.
The Behaviour of the Players
Footballers today spend the whole game pretending to be injured whilst rugby players spend the whole game pretending not to be injured. Rugby players do not dive, spit, try to get an opponent sent off or try to con the referee. The referee is respected no matter what decision he makes and if one player decides to backchat to him then his team concedes ground to the opposition as part of the penalty so they get nearer to the try line. Even if the referee makes a decision which one team may not like there is complete respect shown to him. You will never see a group of rugby players surrounding the referee to shower him with insults. When a football player scores a goal the celebration is usually over the top whereas when a rugby player scores a try he runs back to his half and often just receives a few hugs and some pats on his back. At the end of the rugby game irrespective of what has happened in the game, the losing team lines up in two lines facing each other and claps off the winning team as they walk off the pitch. There is honour, mutual respect and tradition.
In rugby playing for your country is seen as the pinnacle of your career. It is the ultimate as to say. Sadly in football it is the opposite. Footballers are paid so much money that today representing your country is seen as being a burden or just a hobby. Rugby tournaments like the 6 Nations, the World Cup and the Rugby Championship unites a nation in ways that the football World Cup does not. To many football clubs and managers now, international games are seen as being a nuisance and how often does one read of a manager withdrawing a player due to a sudden illness or injury or the player withdrawing themselves. Then suddenly then seem to recover in time for their clubs next league game.