former pupils of the Sheffield Collegiate School established the Sheffield
Football Club at Bramall Lane and published their own set of rules for
football. Players were allowed to push opponents off the ball with their
hands. It was also within the rules to shoulder charge players, with or
without the ball. If a goalkeeper caught the ball, he could be barged over
In 1862 a
new set of rules were established at Cambridge University. These specified
11-a-side, an umpire from each side plus a neutral referee, goals 12ft
across and up to 20ft high. An offside rule was added. A man could play a
ball passed to him from behind, so long as there were three opponents
between him and the goal. It was also decided that each game should only
last one hour and a quarter. The first game under these rules took place
between the Old Etonians and Old Harrovians in November, 1862.
1862, one of the teachers at Uppingham School, John Charles Thring,
published his own set of football rules:
1. A goal
is scored whenever the ball is forced through the goal and under the
bar, except it be thrown by hand.
may be used only to stop a ball and place it on the ground before the
must be aimed only at the ball.
player may not kick the ball whilst in the air.
tripping up or heel kicking allowed.
Whenever a ball is kicked beyond the side flags, it must be returned by
the player who kicked it, from the spot it passed the flag line, in a
straight line towards the middle of the ground.
7. When a
ball is kicked behind the line of goal, it shall be kicked off from that
line by one of the side whose goal it is.
player may stand within six paces of the kicker when he is kicking off.
player is ‘out of play’ immediately he is in front of the ball and must
return behind the ball as soon as possible. If the ball is kicked by his
own side past a player, he may not touch or kick it, or advance, until
one of the other side has first kicked it, or one of his own side has
been able to kick it on a level with, or in front of him.
charging allowed when a player is ‘out of play’; that is, immediately
the ball is behind him.
published his rules under the title, The Simplest
Game. Some teachers liked this non-violent approach and several
schools adopted Thring's rules.
Football Association was
established in October, 1863 with the aim of establishing one, unifying
set of football rules.
has pointed out that the FA was a group of men from the upper echelons of
British society: "Men of prejudice, seeing themselves as patricians, heirs
to the doctrine of leadership and so law-givers by at least semi-divine
Cobb Morley was elected as the secretary of the FA. At a meeting on 24th
November, 1863, Morley presented a draft set of 23 rules. These were based
on an amalgamation of rules played by public schools, universities and
football clubs. This included provision for running with the ball in the
hands if a catch had been taken "on the full" or on the first bounce.
Players were allowed to "hack the front of the leg" of the opponent when
they were running with the ball. Two of the proposed rules caused heated
player shall be entitled to run with the ball towards his adversaries'
goal if he makes a fair catch, or catches the ball on the first bound;
but in case of a fair catch, if he makes his mark (to take a free kick)
he shall not run.
X. If any
player shall run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal, any player
on the opposite side shall be at liberty to charge, hold, trip or hack
him, or to wrest the ball from him, but no player shall be held and
hacked at the same time.
objected to these two rules as they considered them to be "uncivilised".
Others believed that charging, hacking and tripping were important
ingredients of the game. One supporter of hacking argued that without it
"you will do away with the courage and pluck of the game, and it will be
bound to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week's
practice." The main defender of hacking was F. W. Campbell, the
representative from Blackheath, who considered this aspect of the game was
vital in developing "masculine toughness". Campbell added that "hacking is
the true football" and he resigned from the FA when the vote went against
him (13-4). He later helped to form the rival Rugby Football Union. On 8th
December, 1863, the FA published the Laws of
maximum length of the ground shall be 200 yards, the maximum breadth
shall be 100 yards, the length and breadth shall be marked off with
flags; and the goal shall be defined by two upright posts, eight yards
apart, without any tape or bar across them.
2. A toss
for goals shall take place, and the game shall be commenced by a place
kick from the centre of the ground by the side losing the toss for
goals; the other side shall not approach within 10 yards of the ball
until it is kicked off.
3. After a
goal is won, the losing side shall be entitled to kick off, and the two
sides shall change goals after each goal is won.
4. A goal
shall be won when the ball passes between the goal-posts or over the
space between the goal-posts (at whatever height), not being thrown,
knocked on, or carried.
the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it
from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground in a
direction at right angles with the boundary line, and the ball shall not
be in play until it has touched the ground.
6. When a
player has kicked the ball, any one of the same side who is nearer to
the opponent's goal line is out of play, and may not touch the ball
himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so,
until he is in play; but no player is out of play when the ball is
kicked off from behind the goal line.
7. In case
the ball goes behind the goal line, if a player on the side to whom the
goal belongs first touches the ball, one of his side shall he entitled
to a free kick from the goal line at the point opposite the place where
the ball shall be touched. If a player of the opposite side first
touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick at
the goal only from a point 15 yards outside the goal line, opposite the
place where the ball is touched, the opposing side standing within their
goal line until he has had his kick.
8. If a
player makes a fair catch, he shall be entitled to a free kick,
providing he claims it by making a mark with his heel at once; and in
order to take such kick he may go back as far as he pleases, and no
player on the opposite side shall advance beyond his mark until he has
player shall run with the ball.
Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed, and no player shall use
his hands to hold or push his adversary.
player shall not be allowed to throw the ball or pass it to another with
player shall be allowed to take the ball from the ground with his hands
under any pretence whatever while it is in play.
13. No player shall be allowed to wear projecting
nails, iron plates, or gutta-percha on the soles or heels of his boots.
In 1866 the
offside rule was altered to allow a player to be onside when three of
opposing team are nearer their own goal-line. Three years later the
kick-out rule was altered and goal-kicks were introduced.
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