Sam Allardyce has said rugby players behave worse than footballers, insisting there is "a lot of jealousy" against football from the sport.
Criticism of footballers increased in light of the success of the London 2012 Olympics, with sports fans bemoaning the morality of the competing athletes in comparison to the apparently pampered players that populate the Premier League.
John Terry's racism charge and Ashley Cole's Twitter outburst have also brought the conduct of footballers under the microscope, but West Ham manager Allardyce said footballers are prejudiced by the wider demographic whereas rugby players are not.
"I think that the game [rugby] is a volatile contest so people will lose their temper, but nobody seems to highlight the fact that rugby players stamp on each others heads, gouge each others eyes, and that seems to be acceptable," Allardyce told Eurosport.
“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.
“So, it’s something we have to live with. In comparing it to the Olympics, it’s not as fierce a competition, because there’s not that day-to-day, week-to-week, competitive edge. It’s a build-up of four years – a very dedicated four years of course – and the delight of winning and the end of it must be one of the biggest highs anybody’s ever experienced.”