articles published in various newspapers

1886 November 4th
in THE ARGUS (Melbourne)

The Intercolonial Football Conference met again last night at Young and Jackson’s Hotel for the purpose of revising the laws of the Australasian game. There were present Councillor Garton (in the chair), Messrs J Hale and W A Finlay (South Tasmania), W O’Sullivan and A T Gooden (North Tasmania), [B ?] Mitchell, R E Kippest, and J Pollock (South Australia), A Graham and D E Brayshay (New South Wales), and W Hall, G F Major, P O’Neill, and T S Marshall (Victoria).

In the second rule “ten yards” was substituted for “20” in defining the distance of the kick-off posts from the goal posts.

The fourth rule was altered so as to require the field umpire to bounce the ball after the sides change ends, instead of throwing it in the air as heretofore.

A material alteration was made in the eighth rule, which will for the future provide that the goal umpires shall be the sole judges of goals, that these decisions shall be final, and that goals shall be indicated by flags.

The ninth rule was amended so as to make it compulsory that the goal line shall be indicated by a white line.

The new rule 12, as adopted last night, abolishes the familiar phrase “free kick,” the words “kick” or “mark” being employed in its stead. In the same rule the distance at which a “mark” may be given was reduced from five yards to two.

In rule 15 the last clause, referring to boundary umpires, was eliminated.

Rule 22 evoked considerable discussion, and was finally adopted in the following form:-
“No player of a senior or junior associated club shall play for more than one senior or junior associated club during one season except he has permanently changed his residence from town to country or vice versa, or from colony to colony, and has first obtained the consent of the local association; but in the event of a member not having played with his club for two consecutive Saturdays immediately prior to his application for a permit, he shall be allowed, with the consent of the committee of his club and the approval of the association, to join one other senior or junior associated club during the season. Should the committee of his club withhold its consent, the association shall have power to grant a permit without such consent. No permits shall be granted after the first day of July.”

The following entirely new rule was agreed to:-
“That any club playing a man who receives money either directly or indirectly for his services as a footballer shall be fined £10 for the first offence, shall lose the match, and be disqualified for any period the association may see fit.”

In rule 14 it was decided to incorporate provisions that pushing from behind will not be allowed under any circumstances, and that no player must unfairly interfere with another after the latter has secured a mark. Any player offending in either of these respects must be reported to the association by the central umpire.

For the future no arranged matches must be cancelled except by the written consent of the two secretaries and a majority of the permit committee or of the local association.

All matches must be played 50 minutes each way in June and July, and 60 minutes in May, August and September.

Any club playing more than the stipulated number of men in a match will be liable to a fine of £10.

A cordial vote of thanks to Councillor Garton for presiding brought the meeting to a close.

1887 March 10th

Football Notes (by Roland)
I have just received from the secretary of the Northern Tasmanian Football Association a copy of “Laws of the Australasian Game of Football” as adopted at a conference of intercolonial delegates, held at Melbourne on November 3, 1886. During the past two or three seasons numerous evils were, unfortunately, allowed to creep into the game, which rendered it extremely unpopular amongst a class, who, although at times inclined to be hypercritical, had substantial grounds for complaint. The pastimes of a people should be characterised by a thorough absence of objectionable practices, and should be such that the most fastidious could not cavil at, but, though I regret the necessity to say it, the most ardent supporter of the winter game must admit that their favourite sport was not what it should be in this respect, not only in Tasmania, but in Victoria, where football has obtained a strong hold upon the rising generation, as well as those of maturer years. It was therefore necessary that the intercolonial conference should give the matter earnest consideration, and make the laws which regulate the game as stringent as possible. They have carried out their duties well, and during the ensuing season I feel convinced they will have ample proof that their labours have not been in vain.

As few of our players have yet seen the new laws, I will, for their benefit, point out the alterations which have been made. In rule 2 “Two posts to be called the ‘kick-off posts,’ shall be erected at a distance of 20 yards on each side of the goal posts,” has been altered to “ten yards,” an innovation, the utility of which will at once be seen. As the law previously stood, matches were frequently lost because of the large number of behinds obtained, but with the extent of the goal line reduced by one-half, the game will be made much more interesting.

Rule 3, which deals with clubs playing more than the required number of men, has been made more stringent than before by the addition of the words--”And the offending club shall be fined in a sum not exceeding £10 if detected on the ground.” This should lead captains of teams to be very careful in having the correct number of men on the field.

What was previously only a custom in regard to the timekeeper ringing a bell at stated times has now bvecome a law, the following being added to Rule No. 4--”Each club shall appoint a timekeeper, whose duty it will be to ring a bell at the times indicated. At the first sound of the bell the ball shall be dead.”

Rule 6 declare: “All matches played in June and July to be played fifty minutes each half, and in May, August, and September to be played sixty minutes each half.”

The liability of players - when a behind is scored - to run more than the prescribed distance with the ball will now be done away with, as the new laws provide that the space will be “indicated by a white mark ten yards in front” of the goal line, a very necessary improvement.

The most important alteration of all is in rule 14, which enacts that “tripping, hacking, rabbiting, slinging, unfairly interfering with a player after he has made a mark, or catching hold of a player, below the knee are prohibited,” also “pushing from behind shall not be allowed under any circumstances,” so that the dangers attending the game will now be minimised. I should like to make some remarks regarding the altered law, but as space does not permit I must reserve what I have to say until a future occasion.

Passing over several alterations of a less important character, we come to law 25, which is entirely new. It reads as follows: - “Any player receiving payment, directly or indirectly, for his services as a footballer, shall be disqualified for any period the association may think fit; and any club paying a player, either directly or indirectly, for his services as a footballer, shall be fined £10, and, in addition, lose the match amd be disqualified for the remainder of the season.” Of late years rivalry between particular clubs has been so great that the professional element has been largely introduced, and frequently the club who could command the most funds, and consequently procure first-class players, has been able to achieve the victory. This, however, was an unhealthy state of things, and it is well that the intercolonial delegates have determined to put a stop to such practices. If a man cannot play fir the mere love of the game it is better that he should not play at all. Our local association last season adopted a similar rule and it was found to work satisfactorily, and it should do the same in the other colonies.

I may have occasion to again refer to the laws at some future time.

1887 April 9th
in THE TASMANIAN (Launceston)
(extract from Annual Report of Northern Tasmanian Football Association)

“...Laws and rules -
The association was represented at the intercolonial conference held in Victoria to consider alterations to the existing laws of the game. The revision made will be beneficial to all concerned, and the chance of rough play will be reduced to a minimum, while the various amendments all tend to make the Australasian game more popular.”

1887 April 9th
(extract from Annual Report of Southern Tasmanian Football Association)

.”..Alteration of The Laws of The Game.
We have the pleasure to report that a conference of representatives from the various intercolonial associations playing under the Australasian laws of the game, was held in November last, and alterations of a highly satisfactory nature were made, which will no doubt give universal satisfaction. At a special meeting of the association, called in October, two representatives, Messrs Jno. Hayle and W A Finlay, were appointed to represent your association, with instructions as to alterations which were deemed necessary, and it is with satisfaction we record the success of their mission. The thanks of the association are due to these gentlemen, who would not consent to the association paying any of the expenses incurred in connection with the trip. The committee trust the amended rules presented will be found more workable in many ways than the original.”