Rules of Football as played at Cheltenham College (1871)

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1. Kick off at a distance of 30 yards, i.e., from the white posts.

2. If the kick off goes into touch, it must be had over again.

3. When the ball is going to be kicked off, both sides must be in a line with their white posts.

4. After a kick off the opposite side must touch it first.

5. The ball must be thrown out of touch in a straight line; it must not be touched before it has touched the ground, and then be kicked, not handled.

6. The ball must not be touched with the hands in a scrummage.

7. No off-side play allowed.

8. If an umpire shall see a player touch the ball, when he is off-side, he shall call out " Off-side," upon which the player must immediately let the ball fall, or, if it be on the ground, must wait till one of his opponents comes up. Any one infringing this rule, after being warned, will be turned out of the game.

9. It shall be a goal if the ball goes over the cross-bar (whether it touch it or no), without having hit any player.

10. If a ball be drop-kicked over goal it counts; but not if punted, hit, or thrown.

11. Fair Catch. A catch direct from the foot or hand of one of the opposite side, without having touched one of the players on the side of the catcher. Anyone thus catching the ball may make his own mark, which will entitle him to have a drop-kick at the goal. One only of the opposite side may stand up to this mark, but not pass it.

12. A catcher must make his mark after catching the ball, and before he has moved one step.

13. A try at goal. When a player has got a touch-down, he must bring the ball out in a straight line from the place where he has touched it; but if it has been touched so far from the posts as to preclude all chance of a goal, it may be punted out. If a fair catch be made off this, the catcher may make his mark and have a drop-kick at goal.

14. A ball touched between the goal-posts may be brought up to either of them, but not between.

15. The ball must be place-kicked, not dropped.

16. When one side gets a kick at goal, or a punt out, the opposite side must go into goal.

17. Charging is fair in case of a place-kick as soon as the ball has touched the ground.

18. If two of the same side touch the ball, after it has been brought outside the line for a place-kick, it shall spoil the kick, but shall count three rouges.

19. When one side has got nine single rouges, or three kicks at goal, the other may make them change goals. Punts out count with the single rouges.

20. It is not fair to take the ball off the ground, either for a drop-kick, place-kick, or throw.

21. It is fair to run in off any bound of a kick, hit, or throw.

22. It is not fair to run in through touch, or through the goal-posts.

23. No player may be held or hacked unless he himself is holding the ball, or is in the act of catching the runner.

24. It is not fair to hack and hold at the same time.

25. No one wearing projecting nails or iron plates on the soles or heels of his boots shall be allowed to play.

26. The two umpires and the referee shall be the sole arbiters of all disputes.

27. In every important match there shall be an umpire for each side (each captain to choose his own), and a referee, to be chosen by the umpires. Any point on which the umpires cannot agree will be decided by the referee.

28. Every time a side touches the ball down in their own goal, it shall count one rouge to the other.

29. A punt out counts two rouges.

30. A try at goal counts three rouges; but if the opposite side shall touch the ball down when it goes behind it shall count one more rouge.

31. Nine rouges count one goal.

32. After a goal has been kicked, the sides shall change goals.

33. When a player is fairly collared he must put the ball down at once, calling out at the same time, "My ball."


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.