Laws of the Eton Field Game (1857)

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For works with similar titles, see Laws of the Eton Field Game.
The Laws of the Eton Field Game

Laws of the Eton Field Game, dating from 1857. Revised under the supervision of C. L. Sutherland and A. Wilson Patten.[1]


1. The game begins strictly at half past twelve, and ceases at half-past one, should no other time have been previously agreed on.

2. At the expiration of half the time, "goals" must be changed, and a "bully" formed the middle of the field.

3. Two umpires must be chosen, one by each party; their position is to be at the goals of their respective parties.

4. The goalsticks are to be seven feet out of the ground, and the space between them eleven feet. A goal is gained when the ball is kicked between them, provided it be not above them.

5. A "rouge" is obtained by the player who first touches the ball after it has been kicked behind, or on the line of the goalsticks of the opposite side, provided the kicker has been "bullied" by one of more of the opposite party in the act of kicking.

6. As the act of bullying cannot be defined by any fixed rule, the umpires must exercise their judgment on this point.

7. If a player kicks the ball behind, or on the line of the goalsticks of the opposite party, without being bullied, or should the ball be first touched by one of the defending party, no rouge is obtained, and the ball must be placed on a line with the goalsticks, and "kicked off" by one of that party.

8. When a rouge has been obtained, the ball must be placed by the umpire one yard from the centre of the goalsticks at the end at which it was obtained.

9. No player may touch the ball, or let it rest against his foot, until the player who obtained the rouge has kicked the ball himself.

10. No player who is behind the line of the goalsticks, before the ball be kicked behind, may touch it in any way, either to prevent or obtain a rouge.

11. Should the ball have been behind the goalsticks, and be kicked before them again without being touched, any player may touch it and claim a rouge.

12. If a rouge be already obtained before the time for leaving off expires and the time expires before the rouge is finished, it must be played out, until either a goal be obtained, or the ball be kicked outside the sidesticks, or behind the line of the goalsticks.

13. The above rule applies also to all "bullies" which have commenced or "kicks off" which have taken place before the expiration of the hour.

14. Should a player fall on the ball, or crawl on his hands and knees with the ball between his legs, the umpire must, if possible, force him to rise, or break the bully or rouge

15. Hands may only be used to stop the ball, or to touch it when behind. The ball may not be caught, carried, thrown, or struck by the hand.

16. No player may hit with the hands or arms, or use them in any way to push or hold one of the opposite party.

17. No player may kick the ball behind the goalsticks of his own party. Should[2] this be done, and one of the opposite party touch the ball, a rouge is obtained.

18. A player is considered to be "sneaking," when only three, or less than three, of the opposite side are before him, and the ball behind him, and in such a case he may not kick the ball.

19. If a player stand apart from the rest of the bully, even if three or less than three of the opposite side be before him, he is " cornering," and may not kick the ball; if he does, the opposite side may claim a bully on the spot whence the ball was unfairly kicked, neither shall any goal or rouge which is obtained by the player so "cornering" count at the discretion of the umpire.

20. On the violation of Rules 15,16, 17, or 18, the opposite party may require a bully to be formed on the spot whence the ball was unfairly removed, or where a player of their side was unlawfully prevented from stopping or kicking the ball.

21. The ball is considered dead when outside, or on a line with the sidesticks, and may not be kicked.

22. When the ball is dead, a bully must be formed opposite to the spot where it stopped.

23. Should the ball rebound off a by-stander, or any other object outside the line of the sidesticks, it may be kicked immediately on coming in.

24. If a player be not present at the beginning of a match, or be hurt, or otherwise prevented from going on, no substitute may take his place, but the match must proceed without him.

25. A goal outweighs any number of rouges, should no goals or an equal number be obtained, the match is decided by rouges.


  1. Alcock, Charles W. (ed.) (1871); The Book of Rules of the Game of Foot Ball; New York: Peck & Snyder; pp. 17-18.
  2. "Thould" in source (Wikisource contributor note)

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1924, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 95 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.