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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 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, sometimes at any cost, becomes paramount. If that means cheating to do so, then so be it.

I recently watched the “other code” – rugby – which was the Grand Final between two English teams called St Helens and Wigan, played at Old Trafford (home of Manchester United) on Saturday night, 11 October 2014.

One remarkable incident stood out.

It happened early in the first half, when Wigan’s Ben Flower landed two punches to the head and face of St Helens’ Lance Hohaia. The second punch was while Hohaia was already on the ground and apparently out cold and defenceless.

Hohaia is not blameless, as he provoked the incident by an off-the-ball forearm on Flower.

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

Mr Flower, I call him Mr because of his sporting behaviour when receiving the red card, 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. He has since been banned from all rugby for six months, yes I said six months, and won’t be allowed to play competitive rugby again until 14 April 2015. Now that is what I called punishment as a deterrent.

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 an innocent and “I never did nothing wrong 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 was in Holland, where an assistant referee was attacked and kicked on the ground in front of his own son.

One was 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, a country that incidentally hosted the 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 also alleged that the referee then stabbed the player and this is what apparently 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.

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”
email: thehangingjudge88@gmail.com
twitter: @dr_errol

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