Can football learn from rugby when it comes to referees? Richard Hill speaks out

Well, Richard Hill, former England scrum half and now coach of English Premiership side Worcester Warriors believes so. Here he is talking to the Worcester News earlier today:

richard_hill_insetFootball should look at rugby’s laws — Hill

3:00pm Thursday 3rd January 2013

By Tom Guest

THE Football Association could do a lot worse than looking to rugby union for examples of how to improve the round-ball game, according to Warriors head coach Richard Hill.

The Sixways chief believes many areas of the national sport could be quickly and easily changed for the better, such as the confusion over injury-time in games, the lack of respect for referees and player behaviour.

Hill also feels the image of football could be drastically improved, if only the governing body would look outside of its own walls for how other sports operate.

The former England scrum-half said: “I still find it incredible that football refuse to look at other sports to get better developments.

“It is like the time clock — they have all this hassle with some bloke having to hold up a board with however many minutes injury-time there are.

“That’s ridiculous. In rugby we have the countdown clock, so everyone knows how long there is to go.”

Hill continued: “We also have a system in rugby where referees come into the club each week and they develop a rapport with the players — they actually get to know them, have lunch with them here and that builds a rapport.

“When that referee then officiates one of our games, they know each other well and there is a bit more respect — it’s not just a referee, you know them as a person.

“It is then much more difficult to get angry or be disrespectful when you’ve developed that relationship and they’ve refereed you in training sessions.

“I think that system works really well and, in rugby but not in football, the absolute key is that you show respect to the referee.”

On the subject of player behaviour, Hill feels the introduction to football of a rugby-style sin-binning would stamp out indiscipline quickly.

He explained: “Rugby is worlds apart from football, but that’s just the different cultures in the sports. For example, football refuses to have yellow card sin-bins like we have in rugby.

“A yellow card means almost nothing in football but in rugby you go off the field for 10 minutes.

“If Wayne Rooney gave a bit of abuse to the referee and was sent to sit in the sin-bin for 10 minutes, then Sir Alex Ferguson would soon be on his case and it would stop very quickly.

“Football refuse to do it, though, which I find strange. It took them ages to mic up the referees to the linesmen.

“It’s the same with video technology — we’ve had it for ages with the TMO but they just dig their heads in the sand sometimes, I don’t know why.

“Rugby has learnt from other sports — we’ve made our own innovations but we’ve also learnt things from the likes of American football to bring in ideas to try and make the game much more palatable.

“Football will have a yellow card sin-bin at some stage, I can guarantee it, but they will dig their heels in until they have to do it.”

Hill added: “But when they do, it will kill the abuse of officials stone-dead.”

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