The immortal game of football all begun a long time ago, exhibiting unique characteristics as it evolved through the ages, this game has really proved to be one of the wonders of the world indeed.
The unique rules of this game was developed over a long period of time,
Football was a game that lacked standardized rules and regulations, rather different forms of rules where applied to the game depending on the region or area it was been played.

Presently the game has reached an equilibrium concerning its rules and regulations, but before this was achieved it took a very long time, the beginning of the process all started in early England Cambridge, in the year 1848. A meeting was held to discuss the standardization of the rules of the game, but nothing was concluded until another one was held 15 years later, where a set of reasonable rules where agreed on. But those rules are still far from the present ones.

In the early days, the game could not be differentiated easily from rugby and other physical games, for example players of opposing teams could not be differentiated by the color or number on their shirts.

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The size and width of the pitch also varied, alongside the number of players involved in a match.
In England in the 19th century, when the game started mostly in schools, it was played with rules depending on the school where it was played.


THE 1800'S

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As said before the first attempt to standardize the rules of football started in the 1800's,with a meeting in Cambridge, in the year 1848. Representatives from different football playing schools in England where in attendance and this meeting resulted in the emergence of the "Cambridge rules". The first attempt to unify the rules of football.

In the meeting, after a lot of deliberations, it was finally concluded that football was a game to be played with only the feet and not the hands.

Until 1863, carrying the ball with the hands was still practiced in schools in England.

This resulted to the total separation of the game from rugby and other similar ball games.
This decisions also made the sport a less brutal game, as it was intensely physical in the old days compared to now.

Before 1863 “hacking” (kicking down an opponent) was a part of the game and a feature that marked the game to be seen as a masculinity objective.

Here are some of the rules that applied after the meeting.

  • No crossbar was used and the goal was not specific to a limited height.
  • If a player did catch a high ball, he was rewarded a free kick.
  • If the ball crossed the sideline, the player that first got the ball was rewarded the throw-in.
  • Throw-ins was made with one hand (this was not practiced in Scotland though).


In the initial stages of the game, the goalkeepers position wasn't a stagnant position, it wasn't up until 1909, that the first man on the pitch started wearing a different color of jersey. Three years later the rule that the keeper was not allowed to handle the ball outside his box was put in place.



The rule of corner kicks started in the year 1872, then in 1924 it was decided that a player could score a goal directly from the corner spot.

The rule was executed not long after that, in a match between Argentina and Uruguay the same year. The Argentine player Ceáreo Onzari did the only goal in the match and it was from the corner spot. The goal became famous and was titled "el gol olímpico" (since it was made on the reigning Olympic champions, Uruguay).


Penalty kick where introduced in the year 1891, the closest to it at that time was known as the indirect free kicks. At this time the pitch or playing field was not marked with penalty or corner spots, making it hard to call a penalty kick, although one was awarded when an offense was committed within 12 yards of goal.
In 1970 the rule of deciding the winner of a draw match through a penalty shoot out was taken into law.

The same year a penalty-shootout occurred between Hull City and Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney Cup. The first penalty shoot-out in a World Cup (qualification matches excluded) happened in the 1982, in the semi-final between West Germany and FRANCE.


Since the early game of football mostly involved dribbling and not passing the ball around, the offside rule was never realistic or POSSIBLE.

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The first law with a resemblance of offside dictated that passes had to be done either sideways or backwards. Whereas this became the norm for rugby, the game of football took another route when the rule was changed again in 1866. According to this rule, a player was allowed to pass the ball forward providing three players of the opposite team were between the ball and the opponent’s goal.

This change of rules resulted to a lack of goals in the game, and so it was further adjusted. The changes further changed the view of the game tactically, resulting to more goals and more use of defenders.


Before the standardization of football rules,draw games where not decided with extra time, a game could be played till the darkness of the night forces its closure.


The use of referee's wasn't applied till the year 1871, the responsibility of the referee's where given to the two captains of the teams, they kept the peace and controlled the game unlike modern day referee's. It was just in the beginning of the 19th century that we saw the use off whistles to officiate games.

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