Thursday 19 October 2017

Footballers play game to 1858 rules

Former Premier League referee Uriah Rennie before taking charge of a game of football using 1858 rules at Hallam FC
Former Premier League referee Uriah Rennie before taking charge of a game of football using 1858 rules at Hallam FC

The history and heritage of the Beautiful Game has been celebrated with a match at the oldest football ground in the world, played to 1850s rules.

Four schools from across Sheffield came face to face at Sandygate Road, home to Hallam FC, and used the original 1858 rules, known as the Sheffield Rules, for the first time in 150 years, organisers said.

The historic event was the culmination of a community project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to investigate the origins of the modern game.

Uriah Rennie, former Premier League referee and current president of Hallam FC, refereed in traditional Victorian attire.

He said: "I have refereed around the world but I have always been drawn back to Sheffield where I grew up. Football is loved right across the globe but not many people realise the game actually originates from Sheffield. The city has a unique football heritage, influencing the modern game, that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

"It's been a real eye-opener learning the original rules to referee this competition. I am looking to have a great deal of fun trying to keep order - it should be a wonderful occasion."

This form of the sport was the forerunner to the modern game and led to the divergence of football and rugby.

Players were allowed to catch the ball and could score what was known as a "rouge", a secondary goal scored through posts outside the main goal.

However, to meet modern health and safety standards the rules of "hacking" or "charging" were not observed during the match.

The football festival is the result of a year's work by local schools in conjunction with Sheffield FC and Hallam FC to explore football archives under the guidance of football historians. The project's findings will be on display alongside historic collections from local football clubs, including the world's oldest football trophy, the Youdan Cup, dating back to 1867, and the world's oldest inter-school football trophy, the Clegg Shield of 1889.

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