Stoke & Staffordshire

'Russ' Rules' football coach Russ Powell dies

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Media captionRuss Powell wrote 'Russ' Rules' to put the fun back into sport

A children's football coach who inspired teams worldwide with a plea to keep sport fun has died.

Dad-of-two Russ Powell, 38, from Staffordshire, had terminal cancer and wanted to use his final months to promote enjoyment and fair play.

His list - dubbed Russ' Rules - urged youngsters not to gloat after a win and to end each game with a handshake.

Speaking before his death on Tuesday, he estimated his rules had been adopted by 2,000 clubs around the world.

Mr Powell, from Sandyford, who coached Kidsgrove Athletic Ravens, said teams in New Zealand and Italy had been among the converts to his rules.

Ryan Austin, manager of Kidsgrove Athletic, said the club was "devastated about the news".

"It was just how positive he was as a person, knowing what he was going through, not letting him affect him but also tried not to let it affect people around him," he said.

"Obviously it is times like this that football gets put into perspective and it is important we keep Russ's Rules going as long as possible."

Image copyright Russ Powell
Image caption Russ' Rules have been adopted by many clubs to try and keep children's sport fun

When launching the rules in May, Mr Powell said: "Me and my partner, we have always gone by a philosophy with our children that as long as they do two things we'll always be proud of them.

"That is, that they try their best, and they have fun doing what they do, and that philosophy should flow into children's football as well."

Image caption Russ Powell, who was 38, died on Tuesday

Matt Lee, from BBC Radio Stoke, who worked with Mr Powell on his rules, said: "When he saw adults shouting at the kids, when he saw adults getting on their backs, he didn't like it, he didn't enjoy it, he didn't want to see it on the touchline while games were going on, so that's why he set about creating Russ' Rules and these ideas that adults and kids could live by and play by.

"What he achieved in those final months while he was with us was nothing short of incredible."

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