Hacking at football (letter to the editor)

November 9, 1866
‘Hacking at football’ – Letter to the editor
Sir, – In yours of the 6th inst., there is a very sensible letter, signed “E.,” on the subject of ‘Hacking at Football.’ The idea mongst a great many young men who play at football is, that unless there is hacking, the game becomes effeminate and loses its spirit. This is a great mistake.

If you meet to play football, play football. If, on the other hand, fighting is the object, fight by all means, only let it be with firsts, and not a kicking match. But to return to the rules of the game. At the foot of this I append those of the Football Association. These were formed by a number of the clubs round London, in December, 1863, and were subsequently altered February this year.

The object of the rules forming the association was to frame a set of rules that might become universal, so that matches could be played between neighbouring clubs, and no difficulty be felt on the score of the rules.

Why should there be more difficulty than in making the laws of cricket? It was not found easy, however. A great controversy immediately arose between the hackers and non-hackers; the former were fortunately out-voted, and the rules as annexed agreed on, although these are by no means perfect.

Still, it is something to have got rid of the brutal, not to say most dangerous, part of the game, viz., hacking; and yet the game has lost none of its spirit, and is capable of being played by men of business, to whom a broken leg or shin is of considerable importance. – I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


Barnes, November 7.

1866 Rules II 1866 Rules III(Source: London Evening Standard: November 9, 1866)

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