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Why can’t soccer be like rugby?

Sport is supposed to be sport. Something we all do for the love of it, for recreational purposes, or, in many cases, for the exercise and to keep ourselves fit.

Then along came organisation and rules. Suddenly the whole concept has changed.

Then the money men got involved and so we have today, not a sport, but a business.

Yes my friends, whether you like it or not, and whether you agree with me or not, sport IS a business, and in some instances a very big and lucrative business.

Sadly the need to win overrides the whole ethic of sport and so the need to achieve, and that means win, and sometimes at any cost, becomes paramount. If that means cheating to do so, then so be it.

I recently watched the “other code” – rugby – when Australia played the British & Irish Lions "down under".

It was a successful series win for the Lions, winning the test series 2-1.

One remarkable incident stood out.

It happened in the 25th minute of the first half when Australia’s Ben Alexander received a yellow card which meant, to the uninitiated, that he would spend the next ten minutes in the “sin bin.”

As a soccer fan you have to see this to believe it.

To receive a yellow card in rugby is not only a shame on the player receiving it, but his team are without his services for 10 minutes and this can, and has in the past, been crucial.

Mr Alexander, I call him Mr because of his sporting behaviour when receiving the YC, accepted the punishment without even so much as a word of dissent or complaint.

He left the field of play (didn’t walk, but ran off the field of play) and accepted his fate.

Picture the scene from a soccer field of play when a player gets a yellow or red card.

All hell breaks loose. The player receiving the punishment screams, performs, and jumps up and down in protest while “spitting” venom and fury at the unfortunate referee who had the audacity, nay the cheek, to issue such punishment on a purely innocent and “I never did nothing ref” player.

It makes my blood boil watching this nonsense and what’s even worse some referees allow it.

Three referees have been killed in the last year as a result of attacks by thugs on and off the field of play in our "beautiful game".

One in Holland where an assistant referee was attacked and kicked on the ground in front of his own son.

One in the USA where the referee was beaten to death by players and supporters because they didn’t agree with his decisions.

The most recent was in Brazil which will incidentally host the next World Cup in 2014. This referee wasn’t only killed; he was also decapitated and then quartered by a savage mob of thugs masquerading as players and supporters.

It is reported that in the Brazilian incident the referee issued a red card and the player refused to accept it. It is alleged that the referee then stabbed the player and this is what infuriated the players and supporters and precipitated this most grotesque incident.

Yes I agree – the referee should not have been carrying any form of implement that could be dangerous.

While I’m not condoning in any way whatsoever the actions of the referee (perhaps he thought it necessary to carry something to protect himself). If players behaved like their rugby counterparts the need for self protection would not be necessary.

At the end of the day three people (referees) and one player are dead, and this is supposed to be sport?

Where are we going with the “beautiful game”?

Happy whistling

Dr Errol Sweeney
aka “The Hanging Judge”
twitter: @dr_errol

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