Could Football learn from Rugby Union?


To add to our growing collection of articles on relevant subjects in Football, today we take a look at how Football could adapt certain rules and regulations from the game of Rugby Union. The FA like to keep the game flowing, with as little stoppages as possible, and add any lost time at the end of each half. Rugby Union on the other hand is very stop/start, with scrums, line-outs and penalties, with the clock stopping when these sorts of things happen. Below are 9 regulations we think could improve Football:

1. Penalty Try – When a team purposely prevents a try by bringing down a scrum several times, a referee may award a penalty try. We think that in our game, when a situation like the Luis Suarez handball vs Ghana in the 2010 World Cup – That ball was 100% hitting the net – so rather than give the opposition the chance to save the penalty, like what happened, a penalty goal would have been justified.

2. 10 Yard Penalty for Dissent – although some referee’s use this rule, it is not set in stone. In big Premier League games you see furious players surround the referee, even swear at them repeatedly. This rule would eventually lead to players thinking before any abuse comes out

3. Only Captains are allowed to talk to the Referee – Similar to the last point, some referee’s bring the two captains to one side when an incident happens, but putting it in the rule book would again prevent players abusing referee’s

4. Sin Bin – Unless a serious incident happens in Rugby, a player is sin binned for 10 minutes. In Football, should a player bring the opposition down when they are countering for example, a yellow card would be brandished, although if play had gone on the opposition may have scored. What if a player was sent off for 10 minutes for this? It would make a player think twice about a cynical foul because he would leave his team one down for a short period, which could make a massive difference.

5. Blood Substitutions – In Rugby Union (and League) – if a player gets a small cut or gash, they can go off for a while to get stitched up, and a blood sub is allowed on. In Football, managers don’t want to be down to 10 men for too long, so sub them and waste one of three changes. This rule would save a manager wasting one of his three valuable substitutions on something that could be fixed in 5 minutes in the changing room with a physio.

6. Stopping the Clock – In Rugby, the clock is stopped when an incident happens, once sorted time resumes. After 40 minutes the half ends. Simple! In Football the clock runs, and an allotted amount of time is added to the end of each half, and more often than not it goes over and a team scores, leaving the opposition furious. Merely stopping the clock, possibly managed by the fourth official, would prevent all this.

7. Citing Incidents – If an incident goes unseen by a Rugby Referee, a Citing Panel review it. In Football, if the referee doesn’t see it, but a linesman does, but does not react – it goes unpunished, such as Callum McManaman’s horror tackle on Massadio Haidara, Wayne Rooney’s assault on James McCarthy or Robin Van Persie’s sneaky elbow to the face of Yohan Cabaye.

8. Audio Recording – The referee microphone in Rugby is recorded, and is available to the TV audience. It keeps referees on the straight and narrow, but also controls player language when talking to officials. Mark Clattenburg was accused of racial abuse against John Obi Mikel last season, but it could not be proven. This chance would definitively prove who was in the wrong in that case.

9. Wage Cap – A wage cap in football could well prevent teams spending beyond their means. In recent times the likes of Portsmouth, Leeds, Bury, Aldershot, Port Vale, Darlington and Coventry have all entered administration – with Portsmouth nearly going out of business! It would also close the gaping chasm between the leagues in many countries, but especially in England, Italy and Spain, where the rich teams pull away from the rest, and if not they girder their loins and spend a huge amount on a player.

We think that should some of these rules and regulation get introduced it may increase respect for Referees and give them more protection, and more power. It would reduce some of the controversies that have given the game a bad name at times, and be publically chastised for and put players in their place – just because they earn ridiculous amounts of money doesn’t mean they can get away with things that you or I would be arrested for.
It may never happen, but like the introduction of goal-line technology it shows that Football is behind many sports when it comes to evolution to keep up with the ever changing world. Cricket, Rugby and Tennis have all used Technology for several years now, and adapted themselves to stay 100% up to date