Sheffield Rules (1869)

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For works with similar titles, see Sheffield Rules.

Rules[edit]

1. The maximum length of ground shall be 200 yards, the maximum breadth 100 yards. The length and breadth shall be marked off with flags, and the goals shall be upright posts, eight yards apart, with a bar across them nine feet from the ground.

2. The winners of the toss shall have the choice of goals. The game shall be commenced by a place-kick from the centre of the ground, by the side losing the toss; the other side shall not approach within ten yards of the ball until it is kicked off.

3. After a goal is won the losing side shall kick off and the goals shall be changed, but, if in playing a match, half the specified time shall expire without a goal being obtained, the side shall change goals, the kick-off being from the middle in the same direction as at the commencement of the game.

4. A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal-posts under the tape, not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.

5. When the ball is in touch, a player of the opposite side to that which kicked it out shall kick it in from where it went out; and no player be allowed within six yards of the ball until kicked.

6. Any player between opponent’s goal and goal-keeper (unless he has followed the ball there) is off side and out of play. The goal-keeper is that player on the defending side who, for the time being, is nearest to his own goal.

7. When the ball is kicked over the bar of the goal, it must be kicked off by the side behind whose goal it went, within six yards from the limit of their goal. The side who thus kick the ball are entitled to a fair kick-off in whatever way they please; the opposite side not being allowed to approach within six yards of the ball. When the ball is kicked behind the goal-line, a player of the opposite side to that which kicked it out shall kick it in from the nearest corner-flag: no player to be allowed within six yards of the ball until kicked.

8. No player shall stop the ball with his hand or arm, except in case of a fair catch, or attempted catch. The side breaking this rule forfeits a free kick to the opposite side, and the offending side shall not approach within six yards of the kicker; but nothing in this rule shall extend to drive them to stand behind their goal-line. The defending side shall be exempt from this rule, within three yards of the goal.

9. No goal shall be obtained by a free kick.

10. Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed, and no player shall use his hands to hold or push his adversary. Any player so offending shall forfeit a free kick to the opposite side.

11. No player shall wear spikes, projecting nails, or iron plates, on the soles or heels of his boots.

12. An umpire shall be appointed by each side, at the commencement of the game, to enforce the preceding rules, whose decision on all points during the game shall be final. And they shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play, and have power to give a penalty for foul play of any kind. Each umpire to be referee in that half of the field nearest the goal defended by the party nominating him.

Definition of Terms[edit]

A Place-Kick is a kick at the ball while it is on the ground, in any position in which the kicker may choose to place it.

A Free-Kick is the privilege of kicking at the ball without obstruction, in such manner as the kicker may think fit.

Hacking is kicking an adversary intentionally.

Tripping is throwing an adversary by the use of the legs.

Knocking on is when a player strikes or propels the ball with his hand or arm.

Holding includes the obstruction of a player by the hand, or any part of the arm below the elbow.

Touch is that part of the field outside the line of flags.

A Fair Catch is when the ball is caught before reaching the ground, after touching any portion of a player's person or clothing.

Notes[edit]

  1. Changes from 1868:
    • Law 8: replace "No player shall hold, carry, or knock the ball, or push it on with his hand or arm" with "No player shall stop the ball with his hand or arm, except in case of a fair catch, or attempted catch" (proposed by Norfolk FC).
    • Law 8: replace "three yards" with "six yards" (proposed by Norfolk FC).
    • Law 8: append "The defending side shall be exempt from this rule, within three yards of the goal" (proposed by Norfolk FC).
    • Old law 11: delete law.
    • Old law 12: delete law.
    • Old law 14 / new law 12: after first sentence, insert "And they shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play, and have power to give a penalty for foul play of any kind".
    For more information see (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.