150 years ago, in 1856, signatures were put to a document setting out the Cambridge Rules of Football for the University of Cambridge Football Club.

These Cambridge rules were subsequently adopted by the fledgling Football Association at a meeting in London in 1863 as the official rules of the national game.

Last weekend Barry Bright, the Vice-Chairman of the Football Association, presented a framed illuminated scroll to the current President of the Club, Dr John Little, to mark the anniversary.

The occasion was a formal lunch at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge attended by Blues footballers past and present.

The lunch followed a match between ‘old boys’ and members of the current squad at the club’s home at Grange Road which ended 2 – 2.

The Cambridge Rules were drawn up to unify and codify different versions of the game played by different public schools who came to Parker’s Piece in Cambridge to play the University students. They read as follows:

  • 1. This Club shall be called the UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL CLUB.
  • 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. After a goal, the losing side shall kick off; the sides changing goals unless a previous arrangement be made to the contrary. .
  • 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. The ball is behind when it has passed the goal on either side of it. .
  • 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. Goal is when the ball is kicked through the flag posts and under the string. .
  • 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. 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. In no case is holding a player, pushing with the hands, or tripping up allowed. Any player may prevent another getting to the ball by any means consistent with the above rule. .
  • 11. Every match shall be decided by a majority of goals.

85 people attended the anniversary lunch including Chair of Cambridgeshire Football Association Bill Coad and the current President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Doug Insole, who earned his footballing Blue in 1946, making him the most senior member there.

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