Rules of Harrow Football (1871)

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1. The choice of Bases is determined, in House Matches by tossing; but in the ordinary School Games, that side has the Choice on which the Head of the School (or, in his absence, the highest in the School present) is playing.

2. The bases are twelve feet in width, and the distance between them, in House Matches, must not be greater than 150 yards. The width of the ground must not be more than 100 yards.

N.B. -- If the first day's play result in a tie the distance between the poles shall be doubled.

3. The ball must be kicked off from the middle of the ground, half-way between the two bases.

4. When the ball is kicked, anyone on the same side, but nearer the opposite base, touches or kicks the ball, he is said to be behind, only if one of the opposite side be between him and the party who kicked the ball. Anyone who is thus behind is considered as being virtually out of the game, and must wait till the ball has been touched by one of the opposite side; nor must he interfere with any one of the opposite side, or in any way prevent or obstruct his catching the ball.

5. The ball may only be caught if it has not touched the ground since it was last kicked by the leg below the knee of foot.

6. Whoever catches the ball is entitled to a free kick if he calls three yards; but whoever catches the ball, and does not call three yards, is liable to have it knocked out of his hands.

N.B. -- The ball must be kicked without delay; and the preliminary run must not be longer than three yards (i.e., the utmost length to which three running strides would extend).

7. When a player catches the ball, he may take his three yards in any direction he likes.

8. If a player catch the ball near the opposite base, he may try to carry the ball through by jumping the three yards. If he fail in this attempt, no second try is allowed, but he may return in the direction of the spot where he caught the ball, and from any point in this direction may have a free kick at the base; none of the opposite side may in this case get in his way nearer than the spot to which his jump brought him.

9. The ball, when in play, must never be touched by the hand or arm unless close to the body, except in the case of a catch, as above stated.

10. The ball if kicked beyond the prescribed limits of the ground must be kicked straight in again, and then must not be touched by the hands or arm, unless close to the body; and one of the opposite side to the player, who shall have last touched the ball shall be entitled to kick it straight in.

N.B. -- When a player is kicking the ball from behind his own base, his is not compelled to kick it straight.

The ball must be kicked at least twelve yards in among the players, except when it is kicked off from behind.

11. All charging is fair, but neither holding, tripping, pushing with the hands, shinning, or backshinning is allowed.

12. After a base has been obtained, or if no base has been obtained by three o'clock, the sides change their respective bases.

13. There must always be two umpires in a House Match, and if possible in School Matches.

Their decision shall be final in matters of fact, but they are at liberty to refer any question of law to the Committee of the Philathletic Club, if they feel unable to decide it at the time.

N. B. -- In the absence of umpires, the head of a side (who is always responsible for the regularity of the play) shall act as umpire himself for his own side.

14. It shall be the duty of the umpire in all Football matches to take away a base if obtained by unfair means, and in House Matches to put out of the game any player wilfully breaking any of the Football rules.

15. No nails are allowed in Football boots within an inch of the toe or half-an-inch of the sides, and none at all at the heel; no spikes whatsoever may be used.

16. The above rules should be put up conspicuously in every House at the beginning of every Football quarter, and new boys should be required to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with them.


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.