Original Rules of Football

Contributed by Ian Feeley

Original Rules of Football

In 1857, when Sheffield FC was formed, football comprised many loosely connected varieties, spread across the country. Association football did not exist until the formation of the London-based Football Association in 1863

The first clubs formed with the intention of allowing members to play the newer forms of football on a regular basis. While the majority were begun around London, many were initiated in the Sheffield region. Indeed, by mid-1850s organised football on a limited scale was being played there and it boasts the existence of the world's oldest recorded footballing organisation, Sheffield Foot Ball Club (SFBC).

The club was designated as 'Foot Ball' in its constitution of 1858, emphasising the difference between ball games of the time which accentuated the use of the foot as opposed to the hand. Sheffield was still known as a Foot Ball Club as late as 1869. The use of this title in 1858 offers further evidence that the game was diverging into early soccer and rugby forms and explains the Sheffield area's preference for the former. Sheffield FC was formed on 24 October 1857 and the first written signs of a constitution and set of regulations appeared in autumn 1858

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  • 1. At 07:36 on 12 July 2011, Sam wrote:

    Cambridge rules? They pre-date these by a few years....

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  • 2. At 08:15 on 12 July 2011, donaldgrantuk wrote:

    The Football Club Of Edinburgh was formed in 1824, thirteen years before Sheffield. Documentary proof is held in the National Archive of Scotland and F.I.F.A. have been petitioned to acknowledge Edinburgh as the world's oldest club.

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  • 3. At 08:49 on 12 July 2011, nickyg57 wrote:

    There are a number of clubs and associations that have a claim on the game but if you read David Goldblatt's definitive book on the history of the game, "The Ball is Round", he is in no doubt that the birthplace of the game is Sheffield.

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