Laws of the Game (1902)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For works with similar titles, see Laws of the Game.

The Laws of the Game[edit]

1. The game should be played by eleven players on each side. The field of play shall be as shown in the plan at the end of these Laws, subject to the following provisions: The dimensions of the field of play shall be:— Maximum length, 130 yards; minimum length, 100 yards; maximum breadth, 100 yards, minimum breadth, fifty yards. The field of play shall be marked by boundary lines. The lines at each end are the goal-lines, and the lines at the sides are the touch-lines. The touch-lines shall be drawn at right angles with the goal-lines. A flag with a staff not less than 5 ft. high shall be placed at each corner. A half-way line shall be marked out across the field of play. The centre of the field of play shall be indicated by a suitable mark, and a circle with a ten yards radius shall be made round it. The goals shall be upright posts fixed on the goal-lines, equi-distant from the corner flag staffs, eight yards apart, with a bar across them 8 ft. from the ground. The maximum width of the goal posts and the maximum depth of the cross-bar shall be 5 in. Lines shall be marked six yards from each goal-post at right angles to the goal-lines for a distance of six yards, and these shall be connected with each other by a line parallel to the goal-lines; the space within these lines shall be the goal area. Lines shall be marked 18 yards from each goal-post at right angles to the goal lines for a distance of 18 yards, and these shall be connected with each other by a line parallel to the goal lines; the space within these lines shall be the penalty area. A suitable mark shall be made opposite the centre of each goal, 12 yards from the goal line; this shall be the penalty kick mark. The circumference of the ball shall be not less than 27 inches, nor more than 28 inches. In International matches, the dimensions of the field of play shall be — maximum length, 120 yards; minimum length, 110 yards; maximum breadth, 80 yards; minimum breadth, 70 yards; and at the commencement of the game the weight of the ball shall be from 13 to 15 ounces.

2. The duration of the game shall be 90 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon. The winners of the toss shall have the option of kick-off or choice of goals. The game shall be commenced by a place kick from the centre of the field of play in the direction of the opponents' goal line; the opponents shall not approach within 10 yards of the ball until it is kicked off, nor shall any player on either side pass the centre of the ground in the direction of his opponents' goal until the ball is kicked off.

3. Ends shall only be changed at half-time. The interval at half-time shall not exceed 5 minutes, except by consent of the referee. After a goal is scored the losing side shall kick off, and after the change of ends at half-time the ball shall be kicked off by the opposite side from that which originally did so; and always as provided in Law 2.

4. Except as otherwise provided by these laws, a goal shall be scored when the ball has passed between the goal-posts under the bar, not being thrown, knocked on, nor carried by any player of the attacking side. If from any cause during the progress of the game the bar is displaced, the referee shall have power to award a goal if in his opinion the ball would have passed under the bar if it had not been displaced. The ball is in play if it rebounds from a goal-post, cross-bar, or a corner flagstaff into the field of play. The ball is in play if it touches the referee or a linesman when in the field of play. The ball is out of play when it has crossed the goal-line or touch-line, either on the ground or in the air.

5. When the ball is in touch, a player of the opposite side to that which played it out shall throw it in from the point on the touch line where it left the field of play. The player throwing the ball must stand on the touch line facing the field of play, and shall throw the ball in over his head with both hands in any direction, and it shall be in play when thrown in. A goal shall not be scored from a throw in, and the thrower shall not again play until the ball has been played by another player. (Note: — This law is complied with if the player has any part of both feet on the line when he throws the ball in.)

6. When a player plays the ball, or throws it in from touch, any player of the same side who at such moment of playing or throwing in is nearer to his opponents' goal line is out of play, and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever interfere with an opponent, until the ball has been played, unless there are at such moment of playing or throwing in at least three of his opponents nearer their own goal line. A player is not out of play in the case of a corner kick, or when the ball is kicked off from goal, or when it has been last played by an opponent.

7. When the ball is played behind the goal-line by a player of the opposite side, it shall be kicked off by any one of the players behind whose goal-line it went, within that half of the goal area nearest the point where the ball left the field of play; but, if played behind by any one of the side whose goal-line it is, a player of the opposite side shall kick it from within one yard of the nearest corner flag-staff. In either case an opponent shall not be allowed within six yards of the ball until it is kicked off.

8. The goal-keeper may within his own half of the field of play use his hands, but shall not carry the ball. The goal-keeper shall not be charged, except when he is holding the ball, or obstructing an opponent, or when he has passed outside the goal area. The goal-keeper may be changed during the game, but notice of such change must first be given to the referee.

9. In no case shall a goal be scored from any free kick, nor shall the ball be again played by the kicker until it has been played by another player. The kick-off, corner kick, and goal kick, shall be free kicks within the meaning of this Law.

10. Neither tripping, kicking, nor jumping at a player shall be allowed. A player (the goal-keeper excepted) shall not intentionally handle the ball under any pretence whatever. A player shall not use his hands to hold or push an opponent. A player shall not be charged from behind, unless he is facing his own goal, and is also intentionally impeding an opponent.

11. A player shall not wear any nails except such as have their heads driven in flush with the leather, or metal plates, or projections, or gutta-percha, on his boots or on his shin-guards. If bars or studs on the soles or heels of the boots are used, they shall not project more than half an inch, and shall have all their fastenings driven in flush with the leather. Bars shall be transverse and flat, not less than half an inch in width, and shall extend from side to side of the boot. Studs shall be round in plan, not less than half an inch in diameter, and in no case conical or pointed. Any player discovered infringing this law shall be prohibited from taking further part in the match. The referee shall, if required, examine the players' boots before the commencement of a match.

12. A Referee shall be appointed, whose duties shall be to enforce the laws and decide all disputed points, and his decision on points of fact connected with the game shall be final. He shall also keep a record of the game and act as timekeeper. In the event of any ungentlemanly behaviour on the part of any of the players, the offender or offenders shall be cautioned, and if the offence is repeated, or in case of violent conduct without any previous caution, the Referee shall have power to rule the offending player or players off the field of play and shall transmit the name or names of such player or players to his or their (National) Association, who shall deal with the matter. The Referee shall have power to allow for time wasted, to suspend the game when he thinks fit and to terminate the game whenever, by reason of darkness, interference of spectators, or other cause, he may deem necessary; but in all cases in which a game is so terminated he shall report the same to the Association under whose jurisdiction the game was played, who shall have full power to deal with the matter. The Referee shall have power to award a free kick in any case in which he thinks the conduct of a player dangerous or likely to prove dangerous, but not sufficiently so as to justify him in putting in force the greater powers vested in him. The power of the Referee extends to offences committed when the play has been temporarily suspended or the ball is out of play.

13. Two linesmen shall be appointed, whose duty (subject to the decision of the referee) shall be to decide when the ball is out of play, and which side is entitled to the corner-kick, goal-kick, or throw-in; and to assist the referee in carrying out the game in accordance with the laws. In the event of any undue interference or improper conduct by a linesman the referee shall have power to order him off the field of play and appoint a substitute, and report the circumstances to the National Association having jurisdiction over him, who shall deal with the matter.

14. In the event of a supposed infringement of the Laws, the ball shall be in play until a decision has been given.

15. In the event of any temporary suspension of play from any cause, the ball not having gone into touch or behind the goal-line, the referee shall throw the ball up where it was when play was suspended, and it shall be in play when it has touched the ground. If the ball goes into touch or behind the goal-line before it is played by a player the referee shall again throw it up. The players on either side shall not play the ball until it has touched the ground.

16. In the event of any infringement of Laws 5, 6, 8, 9, or 15, a free kick shall be awarded to the opposite side, from the place where the infringement occurred. In the event of any intentional infringement of Law 10 outside the penalty area, or by the attacking side within the penalty area, a free kick shall be awarded to the opposite side from the place where the infringement occurred. In the event of any intentional infringement of Law 10 by the defending side within the penalty area the referee shall award the opponents a penalty kick, which shall be taken from the penalty kick mark under the following conditions:— All players, with the exception of the player taking the penalty kick and the opponents' goal-keeper, shall be outside the penalty area. The opponents' goal-keeper shall be within the goal area. The ball must be kicked forward. The ball shall be in play when the kick is taken, and a goal may be scored from a penalty kick; but the ball shall not be again played by the kicker until it has been played by another player. If necessary, time of play shall be extended to admit of the penalty kick being taken. A free kick shall also be awarded to the opposite side if the ball is not kicked forward, or is played a second time by the player who takes the penalty kick until it has been played by another player.

Definition of Terms[edit]

A Place Kick is a kick at the ball while it is on the ground in the centre of the field of play.

A Free Kick is a kick at the ball in any direction the player pleases, when it is lying on the ground, none of the kickers' opponents being allowed within 6 yards of the ball, unless they be standing on their own goal line. The ball must at least be rolled over before it shall be considered played; i.e., it must make a complete circuit or travel the distance of its circumference. A place kick or a free kick must not be taken until the referee has given a signal for the same.

Carrying by the goal-keeper is taking more than two steps while holding the ball or bouncing it on the hand.

Knocking on is when a player strikes or propels the ball with his hands or arms.

Handling and Tripping — Handling is intentionally playing the ball with the hand or arm, and tripping is intentionally throwing, or attempting to throw, an opponent by the use of the legs, or by stooping in front of or behind him.

Holding includes the obstruction of a player by the hand or any part of the arm extending from the body.

Touch is that part of the ground on either side of the field of play.

Plan of the Field of Play[edit]

Plan of the field of play 1902.png

Notes[edit]

  1. Changes from 1901: (all changes proposed by the Football Association unless otherwise noted)
    • Plan of the field of play added to the Laws
    • Law 1: after the first sentence, insert "The field of play shall be as shown in the plan at the end of these Laws, subject to the following provisions"
    • Law 1: replace "maximum breadth, 100 yards" with "minimum breadth, fifty yards"
    • Law 1: replace "Lines defining 12 yards from the goal lines and a half-way line shall be marked out, also semicircles defining 6 yards from each goal post. A suitable mark shall be made opposite each goal-post, 18 yards from the goal-line, to assist the Referee in enforcing the regulations as regards the penalty kick under Law 14" with "A half-way line shall be marked out across the field of play"
    • Law 1: after "The centre of the field of play shall" delete "also"
    • Law 1: after "the maximum depth of the crossbar shall be 5 inches" insert "Lines shall be marked six yards from each goal-post at right angles to the goal-lines for a distance of six yards, and these shall be connected with each other by a line parallel to the goal-lines; the space within these lines shall be the goal area. Lines shall be marked 18 yards from each goal-post at right angles to the goal lines for a distance of 18 yards, and these shall be connected with each other by a line parallel to the goal lines; the space within these lines shall be the penalty area. A suitable mark shall be made opposite the centre of each goal, 12 yards from the goal line; this shall be the penalty kick mark"
    • Law 1: in the last sentence, replace "field" with "field of play".
    • Law 4: replace "A goal shall be scored" with "Except as otherwise provided by these laws, a goal shall be scored"
    • Law 4: replace "The ball is in play if it The ball crossing the goal lines or touch lines, either on the ground or in the air, is out of play" with "The ball is in play if it rebounds from a goal-post, cross-bar, or a corner flagstaff into the field of play. The ball is out of play when it has crossed the goal-line or touch-line, either on the ground or in the air"
    • Law 7: replace "within 6 yards of the goal post nearest the point where the ball left the field of play" with "within that half of the goal area nearest the point where the ball left the field of play"
    • Law 8: replace "A player shall not intentionally handle the ball under any pretence whatever, the goal-keeper excepted who may within his own half of the field of play use his hands, but shall not carry the ball" with "The goal-keeper may within his own half of the field of play use his hands, but shall not carry the ball"
    • Law 8: after the first sentence, insert "The goal-keeper shall not be charged, except when he is holding the ball, or obstructing an opponent, or when he has passed outside the goal area"
    • Law 9: replace "In no case shall a goal be scored from any free kick (except as provided in Law 14)" with "In no case shall a goal be scored from any free kick"
    • Law 10: after the first sentence, insert "A player (the goal-keeper excepted) shall not intentionally handle the ball under any pretence whatever"
    • Law 10: delete "The goal-keeper shall not be charged except when he is holding the ball or obstructing an opponent, or when he has passed outside the 6 yards semi-circles"
    • Law 10: after "A player shall not use his hands to hold or push an opponent" delete "or play in any manner likely to cause injury"
    • Law 13: replace "Any undue interference by a linesman shall be reported by the Referee to the National Association having jurisdiction over him, who shall deal with the matter" with "In the event of any undue interference or improper conduct by a linesman the referee shall have power to order him off the field of play and appoint a substitute, and report the circumstances to the National Association having jurisdiction over him, who shall deal with the matter."
    • Old law 14: delete law and append content to new law 16.
    • Old law 15 renumbered to new law 14.
    • Old law 16 renumbered to new law 15.
    • New law 15 (old law 16): replace "the game shall be restarted by the Referee throwing up the ball where play was suspended" with "the referee shall throw the ball up where it was when play was suspended, and it shall be in play when it has touched the ground. If the ball goes into touch or behind the goal-line before it is played by a player the referee shall again throw it up"
    • New law 16 (old laws 17 and 14): replace "Laws 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, or 16" with "Laws 5, 6, 8, 9, or 15".
    • New law 16 (old laws 17 and 14): move sentence "A free kick shall also be awarded to the opposite side if under Law 14 the ball is not kicked forward, or is played a second time by the player who takes the penalty kick until it has been played by another player" to the end of the new law and delete "if under Law 14".
    • New law 16 (old laws 17 and 14): replace "If any player shall intentionally trip, charge from behind, push, kick, jump at, or hold an opponent, or intentionally handle the ball, within 12 yards from his own goal line, the Referee shall award the opponents a penalty kick, to be taken from any point 12 yards from the goal-line, under the following conditions: All players with the exception of the player taking the penalty kick and the opponents' goal-keeper (who shall not advance more than 6 yards from the goal line) shall stand at least 6 yards behind the ball" with "In the event of any intentional infringement of Law 10 outside the penalty area, or by the attacking side within the penalty area, a free kick shall be awarded to the opposite side from the place where the infringement occurred. In the event of any intentional infringement of Law 10 by the defending side within the penalty area the referee shall award the opponents a penalty kick, which shall be taken from the penalty kick mark under the following conditions:— All players, with the exception of the player taking the penalty kick and the opponents' goal-keeper, shall be outside the penalty area. The opponents' goal-keeper shall be within the goal area."
    • Definition of Handling: replace "Handling is understood to be playing the ball with the hand or arm" with "Handling is intentionally playing the ball with the hand or arm"
    • Definition of Handling: delete "Unless in the opinion of the referee handling or tripping is intentional, no punishment shall be imposed: thus, within the 12 yards line, a Referee must enforce Law 14 and has no power to mitigate the penalty"
    For more information, see the minute book for this meeting. (Wikisource contributor note)


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


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 80 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.