Sheffield Rules (1871)
1. The maximum length of ground shall be 200 yards, and 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 goals shall be changed, but if, in playing a match, Half the specified time shall expire without a goal being obtained, the sides 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. The player who thus kicks the ball, shall not kick it again until it has been kicked by another player.
6. Any player between an opponent’s goal and goal-keeper (unless he has followed the ball there) is off-side and out of play. The Goalkeeper is that player on the defending side who, for 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 extended from the body. 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, nor charge him from behind. 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.
Definitions of Terms
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 lines of flags.
'Handling' is playing the ball with the hand or arm.
Definition of Rule 9
In the case of a free kick near the goal, any of the defending side stopping or attempting to stop the ball intentionally, it shall be considered to have been played and not fouled.
- Changes from 1869:
- Law 8: replace "No player shall stop the ball with his hand or arm, except in case of a fair catch, or attempted catch" with "No player shall stop the ball with his hand or arm extended from the body" (proposed by J. Pashley of Norfolk FC; seconded by T. J. Anderson)
- Law 10: after "no player shall use his hands to hold or push his adversary" insert "nor charge him from behind".
- Definition of Fair Catch: delete definition.
- Definition of Handling: add new definition.
- Definition of Law 9: add new definition.
- "Sheffield Football Clubs' Association", Sheffield Daily Telegraph (4792), 1870-10-13, p. 3.
- "Sheffield Football Clubs Association", Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 1871-01-24, p. 3.
- "Sheffield Football Clubs Association", Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 1871-03-04, p. 11.
- "Sheffield Football Association: Annual General Meeting", Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 1871-10-12, p. 3.