Chris Croft's Personal Blog

February 17, 2010

Changes to sports, especially rugby

Filed under: Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 11:23 pm

OK, before we get to the Olympics, let’s get a few things sorted out:

Rugby: I’ve long wanted them to stop people kicking the ball into touch on purpose, so why not say that all line-outs are level with where the ball was kicked, whether it bounced into touch or not. Also, less points for penalty kicks. We want running and tries!

Football: (oh dear, here we go!) – bigger goals. Yes, only a bit bigger. Goalies have got much bigger since the goals were first designed. A foot on either end and on the height would mean you’d get scores like 7-4 and hardly any nil-all draws. You know it makes sense. I’d also say that the refs should look at video footage after the match and anyone found diving could get a post-dated yellow-card.

Tennis: reduce the importance of big serves and get longer rallies by having slightly bigger balls, or only one serve. And encourage drop shots by having a longer (but same width) court.

Cricket: (who haven’t I upset yet?) – make everyone in the team bowl at least one over, and also, have the worst batsmen in first (not sure how you’d enforce it) so you’d see them every time and there would be more action at the start.

Motor-racing: make the fastest people start at the back. Plenty of overtaking!

Golf – just abolish it.

Just kidding.  But I hear that you can play Speed Golf where it’s the time to go round that counts, not the number of shots.  Interesting…


And here are some wonderful replies I have already had:

Sports rules:

Rugby. You must be/have been a back. So come up here and and watch a proper running game called “Rugby League”
I have never understood how two sets of 8 blokes, heaving head-to-head in their own bastardised version of the Eton Wall Game demonstrates any sporting skill whatsoever!

Soccer. I agree on goal size. Post match video footage re diving – yes – but also make Managers and Clubs take responsibility e.g 5 yellows for diving = one league point deducted.

Goalie should not ever be allowed outside penalty area. If he does transgress it should be an opposing free kick on edge of box adjacent to where he crossed the line.

Cricket. Ideally the greatest sport should not be messed with at all! But as cricket is a highly tactical and skillful war of attrition it cannot be appreciated by the great unwashed. So it has to be mucked around with in order to “entertain” them and then obtain the revenue to survive such barbarism. Leave Test & County Crcket alone for the afficionados but jazz up all one day, 20/20 etc by:
1) making 10 players each bowl 2 overs in sequence, then if batting side still in start sequence again.
2) the fielding side select the batting order of their opponents, after which
3) the batting side select the bowling order of their opponents.

Formula 1. A complete waste of time, money and energy resource for competitors and spectators.

Any form of Motor bike racing. Exciting, enthralling. Perhaps improved by your suggestion of starting the fastest at the back, and with season’s riders’ championship based on both points for final position & number of places gained in each meeting.

Golf. Should be made to be played with snooker cues.

And in a short time all redundant Courses turned over to sports grounds for primary and secondary schools with adjacent public park lands, all maintained from the green fees paid by the idiots who continue to play “snooker golf”, plus “highway fees” to be extracted from all the nutters (male and female) found running along the roads pounding their knees into early osteo-arthritis, whether clad in Lycra or not.


Bas is obviously a Northern Monkey (no disrepect meant), but the art of scrumming is a detailed and dark art and only available to those who have played and survived in the front rows!
Less points for penalties Rolling Eyes Clive Rowlings (referee) suggested increasing penalties to 10 points, stopping teams from deliberately killing the ball or giving away penalties rather than a try. Whilst we would all love to see free flowing rugby as per Wales early 70’s, Ba-bas until they became pros it is not going to happen until the ball is allowed to played quicker.

I totally agree with banning F1 – how can it be justified as a sport -it is a posession of planet destroying, wealth eating, ear shattering glorified go karts!

For tennis, how about higher nets – would stop all the power shots and become a game of skill and shot placement.

On a personal note – how does snooker and darts warrant so much TV time?

yes I agree about snooker and darts. They obviously require great skill (which I do’n’t have!) but they don’t feel like proper sports. i think this is because they don’t have a time axis – you can take as long as you like between shots, there’s no time-based interaction. You could almost play them on your own. A bit like golf – no time interaction, and you could play it on your own. Although with snooker you are sharing the cue ball and your tactics do depend greatly on what the other person does. Hard to claim that with golf or darts. Yes, i like a typology that lumps golf in with darts!


I’m just so sick of the sight of footballers who are lightly touched (or not even touched at all) writhing around on the ground in ‘agony’
and then as soon as they’ve got their free kick they up and about again as if by magic

so my suggestion is

a) if a foul appears to have been committed, yes give the injured party a free kick, but if the injured person is unable to get up straight away then they have to be carried off for 5 minutes to ‘recover’

b) have a look at the video evidence after the match and any diving (or undetected fouls for that matter) could be punished with a post-match yellow card




  1. Football:
    -> some tournaments have had a rule where anyone who is down for more than a few seconds MUST be stretchered off before they can return to the field. Players who were not really hurt would get up pretty sharpish when they saw the stretcher coming.
    -> 7-4 is actually pretty dull when it happens all the time (ever watched basketball?). It’s only exciting when it’s a rarity. Yes, keepers have go bigger, but at the same time strikers have a ball that is easier to hit harder and with more movement, and they are less likely to be standing in a quagmire when they shoot.
    -> Completely agree with the retrospective red / yellow card. I would also take a leaf out of rugby’s book and let the game run for a few seconds after an offence to see if the side fouled against gains an advantage anyway. This would also give the player fouled against an incentive to stay on his feet rather than immediately go to ground looking for the free kick.
    -> If the defending team is not 10 metres away from the free kick, don’t punish the kicking team when they try to take the kick quickly. Let them kick it – and, if they miss, they get to try again. This would discourage teams from infringing – and reward quick thinking.
    -> The ref is one of the few people in the country who doesn’t get the benefit of the action replay before making his decision. Let him watch the replay on the big screen in the stadium along with the 50,000 other spectators. (Rugby League does this.)

    Rugby and cricket I will take on another day.

    Comment by Martin Herrington — February 18, 2010 @ 4:15 am

  2. OK, cricket. This one IS going to change whether we like it or not. There are already at least three quite different versions of the game in play at top level, and watch out for them to morph further.

    Why? Because until now, cricket has been the only major team sport to diverge from the standard modern business model, whereby the main big-money form of the game is played between organisations that are effectively corporations staffed by players who sell their services to the highest bidder. Premier League soccer, the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, Formula One – they all follow this pattern. International competition is either non-existent (American football), an ignored sideshow (baseball, basketball), or a brand-builder confined to a limited window in the calendar (soccer). Even rugby conforms: the World Cup and Six Nations are the visible face of the sport to the lay fan, but the players earn most of their money playing for their clubs.

    Cricket has been the exception. Practically everywhere in the world, the player-for-hire domestic game is watched by two men and a dog. All the money is in Test and, particularly, one-day international cricket. This constrains rewards as there is no competition for the services of the best players. No matter how well he bowls, Shane Bond is stuck with being a low-paid New Zealander.

    Until the Indian Premier League came along, taking player-for-hire to a ridiculous extreme with its annual auction. Suddenly players know exactly what they are worth – and it is a good deal more than they were being paid for being international cricketers.

    The market will not be stopped. But it will bump into cricket’s other unique feature: the enormous duration of games and tours.

    So… either the top players will desert international cricket (Bond and Andrew Flintoff have already done this, driven partly by the money, and partly by the toll endless year-round cricket takes on a fast bowler’s body), or international cricket will be confined to a shrinking window.

    My guess is that the latter will be driven by the former. The international game will lose credibility if the best players are not taking part, and Test cricket will be forced to constrain its calendar to accommodate player-for-hire cricket.

    Side-effect: most of the games leading Test career stats have been established in the 1990s and 2000s, when more Test cricket has been played than at any other time in history. These records will stand forever as Test cricket now begins to shrink.

    Comment by Martin Herrington — February 20, 2010 @ 7:53 am

  3. Just caught some of Desert Island Discs and it was some benighted rugby coach bloke whose name I had of course never heard of. But it really shocked me just how little (if anything at all) of what he was saying I could remotely understand or relate to.

    I have this thing from time to time with male acquaintances who presume that ‘like all males’ I have some interest in sport. The opposite is true and it fills me with inertia and overwhelms me with indifference. Perhaps there is something wrong with me but throughout my life I have had momentary episodes of shock when confronted by an apparent (and to me totally alien) onslaught of competitiveness in virtually any walk of life and I must say suspicion of me for not ‘joining in’. I don’t believe in teams and I am certainly not a team player but it all just seems really odd to me. People getting all excited and emotional watching some match or other on TV etc. just seems really strange – comical almost.

    I never watch or take part in any sport (except going for a run or cycling but which I would not call ‘sport’, per se!) But equally I would not presume that everyone else likes Baroque music or flower arranging. What is it with this sport thing? I have other male friends who find it really quite ‘deviant’ almost that I really don’t care who wins X,Y match, am not out to be 1st/beat the next man for its own sake and automatically recycle the Sports section of the newspaper totally unread. What motivates me is doing something well, properly and for the greater good – not some (allegedly) primordial (primeval/Neanderthal….?) reflex to ‘win’ / ‘beat’ other people?
    What is it with sport? Am I the only male in the world who has no interest in it?

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2010 @ 7:35 am

    • What an amusing post! And I know how you feel about not being competitive – what’s that all about? Too much testosterone! But I do enjoy sport – but why? I have pondered, and it has inspired me to write a whole blog entry – see above!

      Comment by chriscroft — March 2, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  4. OK, rugby.

    Most changes people think they want when they want to change rugby are changes that would turn it into rugby league. So go and watch rugby league!!! You don’t want to, do you? Why not? Because it lacks the tactical variety of union.

    The most common gripe needs to be taken head-on. Norling was right. Reduce the penalty kick to a single point, and all teams would kill the ball as soon as the opposition came anywhere near the line. There would be no tries, ever.

    The biggest issue right now is not penalty goals. It is not even the well-aimed kick for touch (which is more difficult than it looks). It is the aimless hoof downfield, to which the other team responds with an equally aimless hoof. Two men lump the ball back and forth at each other while the other 28 perfect their suntans. This is not for rule-makers to fix. It is for coaches and players. People: you are wasting possession. You have the ball. Use it.

    The second big issue is the scrum. This is one of the real battlegrounds of rugby, but it has become a bit of a mockery because it takes so long to get the thing set and get the ball in. Frankly there are few people in the world qualified to know how to get this right. I suspect the solution is to employ a few ex-props as referees.

    And please refs – make scrum-halves put the ball in straight, and make the scrum a real contest.

    Comment by Martin Herrington — March 26, 2010 @ 3:01 am

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