Football Rules Changes Over The Years
Football, or at last forms of it, can be traced back all the way to the Han Dynasty and Ancient Greece. Modern football as we know it today has more recent inception, with its origins linked to games played in public schools across Europe in 1800, which were widely popular at this time.
Attempts were made to develop a standardized set of codes, and this was done in 1863, with the formation of the Football Association, who developed a comprehensive set of 14 rules, known as the Laws of the Game. We've come a long way since this historic meeting, and a lot has changed since then. Here are some of the rules that have transformed over the years.
The Origins of Football Rules
Before 1863, football was a lot more violent than it is today. Before the FA laid down the rules, players were allowed to knock their opponents down. Tripping, pushing and hacking were all regular happenings that took place in a football match.
Players were also allowed to use their hands and run with the ball. Both of these were disallowed, which led to the creation of a separate Rugby Football Union.
The rules the FA laid out, however, were not unanimously accepted throughout Europe. This was solved by the creation of the International Football Association Board, which took over the rulemaking procedures. The body had representatives from all over the continent.
A lot went down in the 1870s. Goal kicks and corner kicks were made a proper part of the game. Official referees to ensure that the rules were followed was also introduced. Initially, there weren’t allowed on the field, but rather, they were used for consultation purposes.
It was only in 1981 that they were allowed on to the pitch. Before this, it was up to the captains of the competing teams to officiate and maintain dignity, a far cry from the Video Assistant referees that we see today.
Penalties, known as the Kick of Death emerged as a concept in 1891, which could be taken anywhere along a 12-yard line. Later in 1902, a penalty box was introduced, as well as the 18 yard and 6-yard boxes.
There were changes made to the structure of the team as well. Before the FA meeting, football teams could have 6 – 8 forwards, but it was later reduced to 3. There was no distinct goalkeeper until the early 1900s.
FIFA, which was formed in 1904, merged with The International Football Association Board in 1913. It was after this that it was decided that goalies could not handle the ball outside the 18-yard box. Offsides from throw-ins were disallowed, and a two-player offside rule emerged.
Stanley Rous Revamp
In 1938, the Laws of the Game were rewritten by Stanley Rous, some changes were made, which were not revised until 1997. The offside rule was changed again, to benefit the attacking side with hopes to increase goal scoring.
An attacking player will now be considered to be onside if he was in line with the next to last defender. The back pass rule was also introduced, wherein a goalkeeper is prohibited to use his hands when the ball is intentionally passed to him by a teammate. Tackle from The back also became a red-card offense.
For his efforts, Stanley Rous was made the President of FIFA in 1961.
Recent Football Rules Changes
Most recent changes came in mostly to ensure that the game runs smoothly. In 2009, for example, two extra referees were placed next to each goal, which is the norm followed in all UEFA matches today.
In 2010, it was declared that players weren’t allowed to trick goalies anymore, by stopping before a run up during a penalty.
There were changes made to the eligibility criteria to represent a particular nation. Now, a player does not have to born in or be a citizen of the country they play for, but rather, they must display a “clear connection” to the nation they represent.
This could be based on birth, parentage or residency which means that one person could have multiple teams to choose from. Players are also allowed to represent two different countries, one at the youth level, and one at the senior level.
The use of technology is also common. Goal line technology, which uses a camera to determine whether the ball has crossed the goal line or not, is incredibly accurate and was introduced in England in 2013.
Video Assistant Referee, which was first seen in the 2017 Confederations Cup, was used extensively during the 2018 World Cup, to eliminate any misjudgment or error on the referee’s part.