Rules of Sheffield United Mechanics (1865)

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Rules (selected)[edit]

  1. Kick-off from middle must be a place kick.
  2. Kick out must not be more than ten yards out of goal.
  3. Fair catch is a catch from any player, provided the ball has not touched the ground or been thrown direct from touch and entitles to a free-kick.
  4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick-off) as soon as the player offers to kick; but he may always draw back, unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.
  5. Pushing with the hands is allowed, but no hacking or tripping up is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  6. No player may be held or pulled over.
  7. It is not lawful to take the ball off the ground (except in touch) for any purpose.
  8. Holding the ball (except in the case of a free kick) or knocking, or pushing it on with the hand or arm is altogether disallowed. The side breaking this rule forfeits a free kick to the opposing side.
  9. A goal cannot be obtained by free kick from a catch.
  10. When the ball is in touch, the side that first touches it must bring it to the edge of the touch at the place where it went in, and throw it straight out at least six yards, and it must touch the ground before coming in contact with any player, except it be kicked out at the goal-sides, then it must be taken to the corner-flag and thrown in.

Paraphrase of other rules[edit]

  • A goal outweighted any number of rouges, but in the event of no goals being scored, matches were decided by rouges.
  • A rouge was obtained by the player who first touched the ball after it had been kicked between the rouge flags, and when a rouge had been obtained, one of the defending side had to "stand two yards in front of the centre of the goal sticks."
  • A curious rule was that if no goals were scored in the first half of a match the sides should change goals, but there was no mention of what should be done if a goal was scored.
  • A footnote stated that the above laws were not intended to define all the Rules of the Game, but only such as were peculiar to the club. It concluded: "There are certain fundamental rules which are observed in all Football Games."


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1925.

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.