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Rugby referee Nigel Owens on 'the one issue that soccer needs to address'

The sport has been continually criticised, with players and officials consistently coming under the spotlight.

Rugby referee Nigel Owens believes soccer can follow the sport's lead in certain respects.
Rugby referee Nigel Owens believes soccer can follow the sport's lead in certain respects.

RUGBY REFEREE NIGEL Owens believes soccer must follow his sport’s lead in terms of the levels of respect between players and officials.

Soccer has been continually criticised, with players and officials consistently coming under the spotlight owing to a series of unsavoury incidents, most notably during the PSG and Chelsea clash recently, when several of the latter’s players surrounded the referee prior to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s red card.

Speaking on Game On, Owens, who officiated the game between France and England at the weekend, said that respect between players and officials was the “one issue that soccer needs to address,” adding:

“It’s not acceptable really, because football, more than any other sport in the world, has a bigger influence on society and everyday life and young children’s lives, in looking up to their heroes than any sport in the world, and it has the duty to show that respect.”

He conceded though that in addition to soccer’s problems, rugby was also far from flawless.

“Rugby can’t take the moral high ground on soccer, because there are things in rugby that we need to do better.

“Certainly the respect in rugby is there and it needs to be maintained and kept, as it’s an integral part of the whole game. There’s no doubt about that.”

What do you think? Can soccer learn from rugby? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Paul Fennessy

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