Laws of the Game.
Every time there is a tweak in the laws of the game,you’ll hear the cry-“Why? There was nothing wrong with the original law!” Well,in this article by SOL KITTS,I think it’s fair to say that there was a bloody lot wrong with the original laws and I’m glad they’ve been updated.
There is an asterisk beside comments from SOL KITTS and two of them for comments by BMCUWP. Just to confuse you.
The original laws of the game were decided by the newly formed FA in 1863, and it took 6 committee meetings to agree them. There were 13 laws, viz:
1-The maximum length of the ground shall be 200 yards, the maximum breadth shall be 100 yards, the length and breadth shall be marked off with flags; and the goals shall be defined by two upright posts, 8 yards apart, without any tape or bar across them. (SK note, current max sizes for international matches are 120 x 80 yards).
*Interesting law. With the current players being so much bigger, stronger and faster than before, the original pitch dimensions may be better suited to today’s game than the original one. No crossbar, not even a tape, reminds me of 15 a side, jumpers for goalposts.
**Interesting,aye. It would like playing on a cricket pitch! Mind you,early FA Cup finals were played at Kennington (The) Oval.
2-The winner 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 10 yards of the ball until it is kicked off.
*This law survived until the start of next season, when the winner of the toss gets the choice of ends or to kick off.
**As long as Ronnie rembers the bag of wallies when he swaps ens,that’s all that matters!
3-A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal posts or over the space between the goal posts (at whatever height), not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.
*Nothing over the bar, there was no bar. No nets either.
**We would need VAR to sort out the contentious-“it went over the post!”-claims.
4-After a goal is won the losing side shall kick off and goals shall be changed.
*Change ends after every goal?
**Good way of keeping the score down. I bet the Bon Accord keeper wished that rule was still in place.
5-When the ball is in touch the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line and it shall not be in play until it has touched the ground.
*No throwing the ball up the line. Looks like it doesn’t matter who put it out of play, the first person to it gets the throw in. Roy Aitken, anyone?
**No Rory Delap long throws if you can’t header it.
6-When a player has kicked the ball any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent’s goal line is out of play and may not touch the ball himself nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so until the ball has been played; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from behind the goal line.
*Looks like the original offside law, just as confusing as the current one. I like the bit that everyone is onside if the ball is played from behind the goal line.
**No thought put into this at all,blatant carry over from rugby.
7-In case the ball goes behind the goal line, if a player on the side to whom the goal belongs first touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick from the goal line at the point opposite the place where the ball shall be touched. If a player of the opposite side first touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick (but at the goal only) from a point 15 yards from the goal line opposite the place where the ball is touched. The opposing side shall stand behind their goal line until he has had his kick. Goal kicks and corners (almost).
*Still going with the first player to the ball gets the decision.
8-If a player makes a fair catch he shall be entitled to a free kick, provided he claims it by making a mark with his heel at once; in order to take such kick he may go as far back as he pleases, and no player on the opposite side shall advance beyond his mark until he has kicked.
*This law has survived in rugby. Glad fitba got rid.
**I think Anton Rogan tried this once in a hun game. Didn’t end well.
9-No player shall carry the ball.
10-Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed and no player shall use his hands to hold or push his adversary.
*This law has survived, just dressed up in more modern terms.
**Are Scottish referees aware of this?
11-A player shall not throw the ball or pass it to another.
*The original game was such that teams played in scrimmages due to the original “offside” law, and no passing made this worse. This law didn’t last long.
**I think this committee still thought they were designing laws for a new version of rugby!
12-No player shall take the ball from the ground with his hands while it is in play under any pretence whatever.
**See note 11
13-No player shall wear projecting nails, iron plates, or gutta percha on the soles or heels of his boots.
**Souness on George McCluskey springs to mind.
The laws have developed over the years, some good changes, some not so good. Some changes have been long-lived, some barely saw the light of day then were swiftly dropped. I personally believe we have them just about right, if only we could get Scottish refs to apply them consistently, without fear or favour.
Grateful thanks once again to SOL KITTS,our resident Man in Black,for the above article. Personally,I think the committee must have been on the opium or something! It’s YOUR turn to get your name on Article of the Day. Just mail it to Mahe at