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Original Laws Of The Game sold for £881,250

The original Laws Of The Game (LATG) have been sold for £881,250 at an auction.

The Rules, Regulations, & Laws of the Sheffield Foot‐Ball Club (1859). Photo by Sotheby’s

The anonymous bidder gets the unique handwritten rules of 1858 and the only known surviving copy of the only known surviving copy of the printed Rules, Regulations, & Laws of the Sheffield Foot‐Ball Club (1859). Both documents are part of the archive of world’s oldest football club Sheffield FC.

Sotheby’s description of the document: “The 1858 rules promoted a passing game played with the feet, and
included the free kick, throw‐in, goal kick, restrictions on handling the ball, and the banning of “hacking or tripping”. The code built on earlier football rules (most importantly from Cambridge University and certain public schools) but developed independently, had a huge impact on the development of the game in the twenty years that followed.”

The rules as published in 1859:

  1. Kick off from the middle must be a place kick.
  2. Kick out must not be from more than 25 yards out of goal.
  3. Fair Catch is a catch from any player, provided the Ball was not touched to the ground, or has not been thrown direct from touch, and entitles to a free kick.
  4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off) as soon as the player offers to kick, but he may always draw back, unless he has actually touched the Ball with his foot.
  5. Pushing with the hands is allowed, but no hacking or tripping up is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  6. No player may be held or pulled over.
  7. It is not lawfull to take the Ball off the ground (except in touch) for any purpose whatsoever.
  8. The Ball may be pushed or hit with the hand, but holding the Ball (except in the case of a fair kick is altogether disallowed.
  9. A goal must be kicked, but not from touch, nor by a free kick from a catch.
  10. A Ball in touch is dead, consequently the side that touches it down must bring it to the edge of touch, and throw it straight out at least six yards from touch.
  11. That each player must provide himself with a red and dark blue fannel cap. One colour to be worn by each side during play.


  • Conrad

    Thank you very much for this informations.
    I’m living in Germany and I’m actually looking for
    referee equipment during the time before 1880:

    A German author “sports inside” claim ,that referees at that time
    were operating with handkerchiefs, just before whistles were established.
    Do exist any proofs for this. Photos, Images, Text ?
    Exist any one who is able to ensure me about this fact ?
    Thanks for alle. Armin Conrad

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