Let the punishment fit the crime.
Clearly the past year in the world of rugby union many would argue that this is certainly not the case, as recently demonstrated so graphically by the proverbial slap on the wrists of England Rugby Football Union (RFU) Captain Martin Johnson by the Rugby Union Disciplinary Panel. The Panel despite finding Martin Johnson guilty of three incidents of fowl play including injuring Duncan McRae knee in an off the ball incident, deliberately stamping on the same player and punching Julian White, still managed despite the compelling video taped evidence to not suitably punish Martin Johnson to the full extent of the law.
Many would argue, that this so-called punishment metered out to Martin Johnson of only 35 days suspension by the RFU Panel, which coincidently happens to end the day be-fore the Six Nations Championship opener against Wales in Cardiff. Would be regarded by those with an especially cynical viewpoint, as punishment in the form of calculated blind to demonstrate the disciplinary system works. When in fact the Panel’s decision is redolent of the indiscipline and macho shamateurism prevalent in much of Rugby Unions heritage.
While others would argue that the Panel’s decision is what you would expect from an outdated unprofessional system of self-regulation no longer suitable to the needs of world-class rugby union today. What is needed is the present system to be replaced by a set of professional permanent sport citing commissioners that reach a just and crystal clear judgement within days rather than weeks. Hopefully when the current series of appeals are completed Rugby Union will have completed a series of reforms that enable UK rugby league with the ability to compete with the rest of the world on a level playing field.