The evolution of the Laws of the Game until 2020/21 – An overview

A wordle from the text of the Laws of the Game from 1923.

I have been working on the evolution of the Laws of the Game since 2015.

I found a niche in the football history that interests and fascinates me and in which I can do basic research. When comparing the countless overviews of the evolution of the Laws of the Game, I noticed that some of them are flawed, are often copied from each other and that there was simply no complete overview of all law changes anywhere.

That’s why I made them. 

What traces do I want to leave behind? How can I use my qualities and knowledge to make the world of football better? More about this on About me.

As a volunteer project, I started the German-language blog Nachspielzeiten.de in 2017 to make my research and (hi)stories about the development the football rules publicly available and open access.

Because … why should I keep them just for myself?

The main source were the minutes of the Annual General Meeting of The IFAB, which are also largely open access here. In part, earlier editions of the Laws of the Game were also used as sources.

The chronological overviews

Law 1: The Field of Play

Law 2: The Ball

Law 3: The Number of Players

Law 4: The Player’s Equipment

Law 5: The Referee

Law 6: The other Match Officials

Law 7: The Duration of the Match

Law 8: The Start and Restart of Play

Law 9: The Ball in and out of Play

Law 10: Determining the outcome of a match

Law 11: Offside

Law 12: Fouls and misconduct

Law 13: Free kicks

Law 14: The Penalty Kick

Law 15: The Throw-in

Law 16: The Goal Kick

Law 17: The Corner Kick

 

The visual overview

A visual overview offers this post with the following graphic. It illustrates the changes in wording and word frequency in the FA Rules and Laws of the Game from 1863 to the present.