x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Other sporting leagues should use rugby's example for fans

Take a bow Rugby Football League executives for continuing to play local derbies on Good Friday, a public holiday in the UK.

Jarrod Sammut, right, of Bradford, tries to fend off the tackle attempt by Carl Abblett of Leeds.
Jarrod Sammut, right, of Bradford, tries to fend off the tackle attempt by Carl Abblett of Leeds.

It is not often sports administrators are applauded. Cricket authorities in India and Pakistan are regularly criticised by players and fans alike on issues ranging from the Umpire Decision Review System to match-fixing.

The English Football Association has come under fire this week after Manchester City's Mario Balotelli escaped a retrospective ban for a studs-up tackle and for upholding a red card decision on QPR's Shaun Derry, who was harshly sent off against Manchester United.

In America, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, has been accused of hypocrisy over the New Orleans Saints "bounty" programme as the league has known for years how serious the concussion issue is.

So it is nice to be able to congratulate a sport's decision makers for a change. Take a bow Rugby Football League executives for continuing to play local derbies on Good Friday, a public holiday in the UK.

Matches between clubs such as St Helens and the Wigan Warriors or the Leeds Rhinos and the Bradford Bulls saw bumper crowds.

Indeed, the aggregate crowd of 88,425 for the seven Round 10 fixtures is the second-biggest total in Super League history, just 931 behind the record set in Round 22 in 2010. Bank Holiday derby matches are a tradition rugby league must hold on to.

Let's not forget that in sport, all sports, the games should be played to best accommodate the people who turn up and pay their money at the gate.

sports@thenational.ae

 

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