Category: Laws of the Game

Football substitution – The real story based on documents


Football substitution is an issue I am currently researching. Although the sources speak a clear language. But there have been many exceptions in football substitution, as match reports show.

I know of exceptions in some countries on the European mainland between the First and Second World Wars. The four British associations also knew about this and tried to press FIFA to comply with the rules first. But in the end (1931) they unofficially let the continental European way continue. It had already become a common law there in the few years it had been in existence, and it was much appreciated.

Whether there were further exceptions on other continents, I will also research. Therefore I am also grateful for photographed or scanned match reports until 1967. 🙏🏻 Click here for the “Contact” page.

In this post I give an overview of the development of football substitution as far as I can draw/describe it at the moment.

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Video replay – a short journey through time

video replay

Video replay does not only exist since the introduction of VAR in football. The discussions about the use of technical aids in controversial or unnoticed scenes are already old – soon be 100 years.

A short journey through time on the development of video replay in football

The history of video replay is also a history of the use of photographic, video and television technology and especially the slow motion.

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Modern Football was born in the 19th century

modern football

The birth of modern football in England

Modern football was born in the second half the 19th century. The first seed was scattered in 1850 with an extension of the Factory Acts, the Compromise Act. Among other things it introduced the end of work at 2 pm on Saturdays. This gave factory workers free time for the first time.

Football was a sport that cost relatively little money and some factory owners supported the sporting activities of their workers, provided equipment and sometimes paid for trips to away games. A win-win situation, because this way the owners were sure that their workers did not spend their free time lazing around with excessive alcohol consumption and the soccer-loving workers had an alternative – also for miners and their physically and mentally exhausting work underground. There were also many works clubs at the time, some of which still exist today, such as the Dial Square munitions factory (Arsenal FC), the Thames Iron Works (West Ham) or the Newton Heath LYR Company (Manchester United).

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Two referees in football instead of VAR?

two referees

Why don’t we have two referees on the football pitch instead of VAR? This sounds like a plausible idea that is worth thinking about. But it’s not a new idea.

Not new at all

Since the 19th century there have been repeated discussions and attempts to run the game with two referees on the field. Reasons were on the one hand to make the stoppage time for decisions shorter and on the other hand to have a “back-up” to penalise fouls, which neither the referee nor his*her assistant referees noticed during other games.

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Football Offside: When was the offside rule introduced?

Football Offside: The featured image shows the development of the wording of the offside rules from the FA Rules 1863 to the Laws of the Game of 2020.

Football offside – the history started in the public schools of England in the 19th century, when football was a mix of rugby and soccer.

The public schools attended by the sons of the gentlemen took advantage of the football game, among other things, to stay fit in the cooler months. But each of them had its own set of rules. Not everyone mentioned an offside and sometimes the rules were the same.

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Early Football rules

early football

About the early football rules, Charles William Alcock’s wrote a short piece: The Book of Rules of the Game of Football, here online in a 1871 edition from New York. The well-known footballer of the first decades of the FA republished seven contemporary rules. For most of them it isn’t mentioned when the rules were lastly changed, but for some of them I could trace it back.

These are the rules of early football mentioned:

  • FA Rules, 1870
  • Sheffield FA Rules, 1869
  • Eton Field Game, 1862
  • Winchester College, before 1871
  • Rugby School, between 1863 and 1870
  • Harrow School, before 1871
  • Cheltenham College, before 1871.

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