BBC News

Football game played by 1858 rules in Sheffield

image captionThe game took place on the oldest football ground in the world

Football-mad pupils in Sheffield have returned to the sport's roots in the city by playing the game according to rules devised there 155 years ago.

Created by two Sheffield sportsmen in 1858, the Sheffield Rules allowed players to catch the ball, push players and score goals outside the goalposts.

The rules have been revived as part of a competition and festival marking the city's influence on modern football.

The event marked the end of a year-long project involving four schools.

The project, the Heritage Lottery-funded Sheffield: Home of Football, saw students from All Saints Catholic High, Forge Valley Community School, Handsworth Grange and Westfield Sports College research the history of football in the city.

image captionMatches were played using a vintage leather ball

The competition and festival was held at Hallam FC's Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield.

'Unique heritage'

The site opened in 1860 and is the Guinness world record holder for being the oldest football ground in the world.

The city is also home to Sheffield FC, dating back to 1857 and acknowledged by the Football Association and Fifa as the world's first football club.

The club's founders, William Prest and Nathaniel Creswick, are credited with devising the Sheffield Rules.

Most of the Sheffield Rules were observed during the competition, organisers said.

However, the rule allowing the "charging" of one player by another - considered "fair" under the 1858 rules - was suspended to meet modern health and safety standards.

All those taking part were dressed in Victorian-style football kit and matches were played using a vintage leather ball.

Uriah Rennie, Sheffield-born former Premier League referee and president of Hallam FC, refereed the games in a top hat.

"The city has a unique football heritage influencing the modern game that cannot be found anywhere else in the world," he said.

More on this story

  • Sheffield footballers to open £2.5m youth centre