Aviva Premiership
Former players slam Allardyce allegation
ESPN Staff
October 19, 2012
Football manager Sam Allardyce has riled the rugby community with his outspoken comments on player conduct © Getty Images

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has attracted widespread criticism for his claim that rugby players are guilty of far worse on-field behaviour than their football counterparts.

The Premier League boss was speaking in the wake of series of unsavoury headlines featuring footballers including John Terry's Football Association charge for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers rival Anton Ferdinand, rash tackles and accustations of diving.

Asked if he thought footballers could learn anything from other sports in terms of conduct, Allardyce was quick to point the finger and suggest the criticism was motivated by jealousy.

"I think that the game [football] is a volatile contest so people will lose their temper," he told Yahoo!, "but nobody seems to highlight the fact that rugby players stamp on each other's heads, gouge each other's eyes, and that seems to be acceptable.

"Or fans go to watch ice hockey players beat themselves up with the sticks and that also seems acceptable, but a footballer kicks somebody, or does something that's slightly untoward to the rules and it's 'lock them away, ban them for life'.

"There's a lot of jealousy around the way football is in this country, I think, and as it's known as the peoples' game, then I think more and more people complain about the price, whereas all the other sports it's not quite the same."

His assessment was quickly pounced upon by former England international and outspoken media pundit Brian Moore who slammed Allardyce's view that stamping or gouging is 'acceptable'.

He wrote on Twitter: "Utterly idiotic Sam Allardyce 'rugby players stamp on heads & gouge eyes & that seems to be acceptable' No & see bans made of up 70 weeks."

Moore later added: "Nobody pretends rugby hasn't got problems but it seeks to remedy, not excuse them as he does with football."

His sentiment was echoed by former England captain Will Carling who highlighted the respect shown to the referee in rugby and the converse treatment suffered by football officials. "Talk about missing the point," he wrote on the mircro-blogging site. "Rugby players rightly punished, it is the pretence at injury & treatment of ref Sam!!!"

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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