The origin of modern Football

How ‘Cambridge rules’ made football what it is today.

Before ‘Cambridge rules’ came into fruition in 1848 football was a very different game. Although kicking a ball around has probably been a thing since the dawn of time, it is well documented that football originated in 12th century England, played in fields and on roads predominantly. This ancient form of the game had many differences, such as players being able to carry the ball, punch the ball and physically tackle players similar to in rugby.  

This all changed in 1848 however when a group of students from Cambridge University put together 11 rules, these became known as the ‘Cambridge rules’.

The Cambridge rules were as follows:

  1. 1. This club shall be called the University Foot Ball Club
  2. 2. At the commencement of the play, the ball shall be kicked off from the middle of the ground: after every goal there shall be a kick-off in the same way.
  3. 3. After a goal, the losing side shall kick off, the sides changing goals, unless a previous arrangement be made to the contrary.
  4. 4. The ball is out when it has passed the line of the flag-posts on either side of the ground, in which case it shall be thrown in straight.
  5. 5. The ball is behind when it has passed the goal on either side of it.
  6. 6. When the ball is behind it shall be brought forward at the place where it left the ground, not more than ten paces, and kicked off.
  7. 7. Goal is when the ball is kicked through the flag-posts and under the string.
  8. 8. When a player catches the ball directly from the foot, he may kick it as he can without running with it. In no other case may the ball be touched with the hands, except to stop it.
  9. 9. If the ball has passed a player, and has come from the direction of his own goal, he may not touch it till the other side have kicked it, unless there are more than three of the other side before him. No player is allowed to loiter between the ball and the adversaries’ goal.
  10. 10. In no case is holding a player, pushing with hands, or tripping up allowed. Any player may prevent another player from getting the ball by any means consistent with the above rules.
  11. 11. Every match shall be decided by a majority of goals.

Although many of these rules may seem incredibly outdated, they are what helped form the Football Association (FA).

Cambridge established it’s own football team in 1912 named Cambridge United Football Club, the team currently plays in League Two and is managed by Colin Calderwood.

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Jack Pursey
Sales and marketing

About me

I deal with the sales and marketing side of the college. I have a vast range of responsibilities, including preparing student offer letters, assisting with visa applications, and arranging student accommodation. I am also responsible for the College’s social media pages, where I aim to increase the company’s online presence. Outside of work my interests are predominately sports-related, I have played many team sports over the years such as Football, Cricket and Basketball. As well as individual sports such as snowboarding and tennis.

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