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School Playground Football Rules


Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Wasn't sure where to post this so thought I'd start a new thread. May have already been posted. Am sure we can all recognise the rules from playing football at school or in the park

 

 

 

 

Matches shall be played over three unequal periods: two playtimes and a lunchtime. Each of these periods shall begin shortly after the ringing of a bell, and although a bell is also rung towards the end of these periods, play may continue for up to ten minutes afterwards, depending on the nihilism or “bottle†of the participants with regard to corporal punishment met out to latecomers back to the classroom.

In practice there is a sliding scale of nihilism, from those who hasten to stand in line as soon as the bell rings, known as “poofsâ€, through those who will hang on until the time they estimate it takes the teachers to down the last of their gins and journey from the staffroom, known as “chancersâ€, and finally to those who will hang on until a teacher actually has to physically retrieve them, known as “bampotsâ€.

This sliding scale is intended to radically alter the logistics of a match in progress, often having dramatic effects on the scoreline as the number of remaining participants drops. It is important, therefore, in picking the sides, to achieve a fair balance of poofs, chancers and bampots in order that the scoreline achieved over a sustained period of play - a lunchtime, for instance - is not totally nullified by a five-minute post-bell onslaught of five bampots against one.

The scoreline to be carried over from the previous period of the match is in the trust of the last bampots to leave the field of play, and may be the matter of some debate.

This must be resolved in one of the approved manners (see Adjudication).

Parameters

The object is to force the ball between two large, unkempt piles of jackets, in lieu of goalposts. These piles may grow or shrink throughout the match, depending on the number of participants and the prevailing weather. As the number of players increases, so shall the piles. Each jacket added to the pile by a new addition to a side should be placed on the inside, nearest the goalkeeper, thus reducing the target area.

It is also important that the sleeve of one of the jackets should jut out across the goalmouth, as it will often be claimed that the ball went “over the post†and it can henceforth be asserted that the outstretched
sleeve denotes the innermost part of the pile and thus the inside of the post.

The on-going reduction of the size of the goal is the responsibility of any respectable defence and should be undertaken conscientiously with resourcefulness and imagination.

In the absence of a crossbar, the upper limit of the target area is observed as being slightly above head height, although when the height at which a ball passed between the jackets is in dispute, judgement shall lie with an arbitrary adjudicator from one of the sides. He is known as the “best fighterâ€; his decision is final and may be enforced with physical violence if anyone wants to stretch a point.

There are no pitch markings. Instead, physical objects denote the boundaries, ranging from the most common - walls and buildings – to roads or burns. Corners and throw-ins are redundant where bylines or touchlines are denoted by a two-storey building or a six-foot granite wall. Instead, a scrum should be instigated to decide possession. This should begin with the ball trapped between the brickwork and two opposing players, and should escalate to include as many team members as can get there before the now egg-shaped ball finally emerges, drunkenly and often with a dismembered foot and shin attached. At this point, goalkeepers should look out for the player who takes possession of the escaped ball and begins bearing down on goal, as most of those involved in the scrum will be unaware that the ball is no longer amidst their feet.

The goalkeeper should also try not to be distracted by the inevitable fighting that has by this point broken out.

In games on large open spaces, the length of the pitch is obviously denoted by the jacket piles, but the width is a variable. In the absence of roads, water hazards or “a big dugâ€, the width is determined by how far out the attacking winger has to meander before the pursuing defender gets fed up and lets him head back towards where the rest of the players are waiting, often as far as quarter of a mile away.

It is often observed that the playing area is “not a full-size pitchâ€. This can be invoked verbally to justify placing a wall of players eighteen inches from the ball at direct free kicks It is the formal response to “yardsâ€, which the kick-taker will incant meaninglessly as he places the ball.

The Ball

There is a variety of types of ball approved for Primary School Football. I shall describe the most popular:

The rough-finish Mitre or Trophy 5. Half football, half Portuguese Man o’ War. On the verge of a ban in the European Court of Human Rights, this model is not for sale to children. Used exclusively by teachers during gym classes as a kind of aversion therapy. Made from highly durable fibre-glass, stuffed with neutron star and coated with dead jellyfish. Advantages: looks quite grown up, makes for high-scoring matches (keepers won’t even attempt to catch it). Disadvantages: scars or maims anything it touches.

Offside

There is no offside, for two reasons: one, “it’s not’ a full-size pitchâ€, and two, none of the players actually know what offside is. The lack of an offside rule gives rise to a unique sub-division of strikers. These players hang around the opposing goalmouth while play carries on at the other end, awaiting a long pass forward out of defence which they can help past the keeper before running the entire length of the pitch with their arms in the air to greet utterly imaginary adulation. These are known variously as “poachersâ€, “gloryhunters†and “fly wee bastartsâ€. These players display a remarkable degree of self-security, seemingly happy in their own appraisals of their achievements, and caring little for their team-mates’ failure to appreciate the contribution they have made. They know that it can be for nothing other than their enviable goal tallies that they are so bitterly despised.

Adjudication

The absence of a referee means that disputes must be resolved between the opposing teams rather than decided by an arbiter. There are two accepted ways of doing this.
1. Compromise. An arrangement is devised that is found acceptable by both sides. Sway is usually given to an action that is in accordance with the spirit of competition, ensuring that the game does not turn into “a pure skooshâ€.
For example, in the event of a dispute as to whether the ball in fact crossed the line, or whether the ball has gone inside or “over†the post, the attacking side may offer the ultimatum: “Penalty or goal.â€
It is not recorded whether any side has ever opted for the latter. It is on occasions that such arrangements or ultimata do not prove acceptable to both sides that the second adjudicatory method comes into play.

Team Selection

To ensure a fair and balanced contest, teams are selected democratically in a turns-about picking process, with either side beginning as a one-man selection committee and growing from there.
The initial selectors are usually the recognised two Best Players of the assembled group. Their first selections will be the two recognised Best Fighters, to ensure a fair balance in the adjudication process, and to ensure that they don’t have their own performances impaired throughout the match by profusely bleeding noses. They will then proceed to pick team-mates in a roughly meritocratic order, selecting on grounds of skill and tactical awareness, but not forgetting that while there is a sliding scale of players’ ability, there is also a sliding scale of playersÂ’ brutality and propensities towards motiveless violence. A selecting captain might baffle a talented striker by picking the less nimble Big Jazza ahead of him, and may explain, perhaps in the words of Linden B Johnson upon his retention of J Edgar Hoover as the head of the FBI, that he’d “rather have him inside the tent ****ing out, than outside the tent ****ing inâ€. Special consideration is also given during the selection process to the owner of the ball. It is tacitly acknowledged to be “his gemmeâ€, and he must be shown a degree of politeness for fear that he takes the huff at being picked late and withdraws his favours. Another aspect of team selection that may confuse those only familiar with the game at senior level will be the choice of goalkeepers, who will inevitably be the last players to be picked. Unlike in the senior game, where the goalkeeper is often the tallest member of his team, in the playground, the goalkeeper is usually the smallest. Senior aficionados must appreciate that playground selectors have a different agenda and are looking for altogether different properties in a goalkeeper. These can be listed briefly as: compliance, poor fighting ability, meekness, fear and anything else that makes it easier for their team-mates to banish the wee bugger between the sticks while they go off in search of personal glory up the other end.

Tactics

Playground football tactics are best explained in terms of team formation. Whereas senior sides tend to choose - according to circumstance - from among a number of standard options (eg 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 5-3-2), the playground side is usually more rigid in sticking to the all-purpose 1-1-17 formation. This formation is a sturdy basis for the unique style of play, ball-flow and territorial give-and-take that makes the playground game such a renowned and strategically engrossing spectacle. Just as the 5-3-2 formation is sometimes referred to in practice as “Cattenaccioâ€, the 1-1-17 formation gives rise to a style of play that is best described as “Nomadicâ€. All but perhaps four of the participants (see also Offside) migrate en masse from one area of the pitch to another, following the ball, and it is tactically vital that every last one of them remains within a ten-yard radius of it at all times.

Stoppages

Much stoppage time in the senior game is down to injured players requiring treatment on the field of play. The playground game flows freer having adopted the refereeing philosophy of “no Post-Mortem, no free-kickâ€, and play will continue around and even on top of a participant who has fallen in the course of his endeavours. However, the playground game is nonetheless subject to other interruptions, and some examples are listed below.

1. Ball on school roof or over school wall. The retrieval time itself is negligible in these cases. The stoppage is most prolonged by the argument to decide which player must risk life, limb or four of the belt to scale the drainpipe or negotiate the barbed wire in order to return the ball to play. Disputes usually arise between the player who actually struck the ball and any others he claims it may have struck before disappearing into forbidden territory. In the case of the Best Fighter having been adjudged responsible for such an incident, a volunteer is often required to go in his stead or the game may be abandoned, as the Best Fighter is entitled to observe that A: “Ye canny make meâ€; or B: “It’s no’ ma baw anywayâ€.

2. Stray dog on pitch. An interruption of unpredictable duration. The dog does not have to make off with the ball, it merely has to run around barking loudly, snarling and occasionally drooling or foaming at the mouth. This will ensure a dramatic reduction in the number of playing staff as 27 of them simultaneously volunteer to go indoors and inform the teacher of the threat. The length of the interruption can sometimes be gauged by the breed of dog. A deranged Irish Setter could take ten minutes to tire itself of running in circles, for instance, while a Jack Russell may take up to fifteen minutes to corner and force out through the gates. An Alsatian means instant abandonment.

3. Bigger boys steal ball. A highly irritating interruption, the length of which is determined by the players’ experience in dealing with this sort of thing. The intruders will seldom actually steal the ball, but will improvise their own kickabout amongst themselves, occasionally inviting the younger players to attempt to tackle them. Standing around looking bored and unimpressed usually results in a quick restart. Shows of frustration and engaging in attempts to win back the ball can prolong the stoppage indefinitely. Informing the intruders that one of the players’ older brother is “Mad Chic Murphy†or some other noted local pugilist can also ensure minimum delay.

4. Celebration. Kneeling down to head the ball over the line when defence and keeper are already beaten will elicit a thoroughly deserved kicking. As a footnote, however, it should be stressed that any goal scored by the Best Fighter will be met with universal acclaim, even if it was lucky/crap/took a deflection.

Penalties

At senior level, each side often has one appointed penalty-taker, who will defer to a team-mate in special circumstances, such as his requiring one more for a hat-trick. The playground side has two appointed penalty-takers: the Best Player and the Best Fighter. The arrangement is simple: the Best Player takes the penalties when his side is a retrievable margin behind, and the Best Fighter at all other times. If the side is comfortably in front, the ball-owner may be invited to take a penalty. Goalkeepers are often the subject of temporary substitutions at penalties, forced to give up their position to the Best Player or Best Fighter, who recognise the kudos attached to the heroic act of saving one of these kicks, and are buggered if Wee Titch is going to steal any of it.

Close Season

This is known also as the Summer Holidays, which the players usually spend dabbling briefly in other sports: tennis for a fortnight while Wimbledon is on the telly; pitch-and-putt for four days during the Open; and cricket for about an hour and a half until they discover that it really is as boring to play as it is to watch.

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That is delightful; and brings back happy memories of my school days.

 

Seems to me in ,my Scottish primary school, there was another unwritten rule - onyone who uses his teeth will be taken roond the back of the boys' lavvies and gi'en a belting!

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When I was in grade school, the kids played on the basketball/tennis/volleyball court, so it was more like futsal. The goals were the chain link fences on either end of the court. The only rule was only the goalkeeper could touch the ball with their hands. Later, someone bought some orange pylons and used them to make goals, and we played on the grass. There was still no offsides, and the only rule was still that only the goalkeeper could touch the ball with their hands. Most fun I had. I wasn't good, but I liked it.

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Jeez, I can't even remember anyone playing football. We played tag, did something incredibly complicated with marbles, there was hide-and-seek, hopscotch, ropeskipping. Fun times!

Edited by Valerie
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Jeez, I can't even remember anyone playing football. We played tag, did something incredibly complicated with marbles, there was hide-and-seek, hopscotch, ropeskipping. Fun times!

 

 

Were there no boys at your school?

 

Long long ago when I was young, the boys played football at every possible opportunity.  Girls who were interested were allowed to watch - and run and fetch the ball for them if it went over the school wall!. Needless to say, this was an activity that palled quite quickly!

Edited by moi
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In terms of adjudication, I remember a lot of leeway and bias being accorded to the owner of 'THE ball'; the owner had to be kept sweet as, without the ball, there was no match. It was literally a case of 'well, it's my ball innit?'.

At my primary school, football was tied as 'top game' with 'war' (where shot players were alive again after counting to ten) and Matchbox cars in the sand pits. Happy days.

Edited by Spudulike
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Were there no boys at your school?

Long long ago when I was young, the boys played football at every possible opportunity. Girls who were interested were allowed to watch - and run and fetch the ball for them if it went over the school wall!. Needless to say, this was an activity that palled quite quickly!

Certainly there were boys, I just can't remember if anyone (boys, girls, aliens) played football. It may have been forbidden, as we had a small playground and football would have taken up too much soace.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sliding tackles on concrete my man used to be killing me for ruining my school pants

 

We weren't allowed to do sliding tackles at my school, because the school was small enough that there were only kindergarteners, lower grades (1-3), and upper grades (4-8).  There can be a large difference in size between a six-year-old and nine-year-old, and the same thing between and nine-year-old and fourteen-year-old; someone's going to get hurt. There wasn't any fear of being sued, just the ire of the parent of an injured child towards the parent of the child who committed the act causing said injury.  It also meant no tackle American football (two-hand touch only) and no snowball-throwing.

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Sliding tackles on concrete my man used to be killing me for ruining my school pants

 

We weren't allowed to do sliding tackles at my school, because the school was small enough that there were only kindergarteners, lower grades (1-3), and upper grades (4-8).  There can be a large difference in size between a six-year-old and nine-year-old, and the same thing between and nine-year-old and fourteen-year-old; someone's going to get hurt. There wasn't any fear of being sued, just the ire of the parent of an injured child towards the parent of the child who committed the act causing said injury.  It also meant no tackle American football (two-hand touch only) and no snowball-throwing.

 

In terms of adjudication, I remember a lot of leeway and bias being accorded to the owner of 'THE ball'; the owner had to be kept sweet as, without the ball, there was no match. It was literally a case of 'well, it's my ball innit?'.

At my primary school, football was tied as 'top game' with 'war' (where shot players were alive again after counting to ten) and Matchbox cars in the sand pits. Happy days.

 

We had our own version of dodgeball (which to some, is a form of sadism), called "bombardment", which was every man for himself. If you were out (hit by the ball), you could only get back in if the person that got you out suffered the same fate.  There was always one that got multiple people out (the biggest jerk of all, just thinking about him makes me mad), and once that happened, the jungle gym cleared.

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Brings back a lot of memories, unfortunately at my primary school the best fighter also happened to own the football, thus obviously the game was ruled with an iron fist and he prevented anyone else bringing in a football and starting their own game to overthrow him.

Edited by Jonty
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Football was banned at my all girls comprehensive when it got too rough!  I'm not sure now whether it was very rough or whether it was just that the teachers thought we were being unladylike.

 

At junior school a few girls were allowed to play with the boys - such an honour!  Happy days!

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Football was banned at my all girls comprehensive when it got too rough! I'm not sure now whether it was very rough or whether it was just that the teachers thought we were being unladylike.

At junior school a few girls were allowed to play with the boys - such an honour! Happy days!

Did you go to a finishing school for girls BQ? Ladette to lady?

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No - still a bit of a ladette really Uno.  Emphasis more on the beer than the queen!  

 

We were the first year of comprehensive - it had been a girls' grammar upto then and I think we were a bit of a shock to some of the teachers there!

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Football was banned at my all girls comprehensive when it got too rough!  I'm not sure now whether it was very rough or whether it was just that the teachers thought we were being unladylike.

 

At junior school a few girls were allowed to play with the boys - such an honour!  Happy days!

 

 

You went to an ALL girls school!! BQ, how ghastly!

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:laugh2: Love it, especially this.

 

 

 

 

1. Ball on school roof or over school wall. The retrieval time itself is negligible in these cases. The stoppage is most prolonged by the argument to decide which player must risk life, limb or four of the belt to scale the drainpipe or negotiate the barbed wire in order to return the ball to play. Disputes usually arise between the player who actually struck the ball and any others he claims it may have struck before disappearing into forbidden territory. In the case of the Best Fighter having been adjudged responsible for such an incident, a volunteer is often required to go in his stead or the game may be abandoned, as the Best Fighter is entitled to observe that A: “Ye canny make meâ€; or B: “It’s no’ ma baw anywayâ€.

 

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You went to an ALL girls school!! BQ, how ghastly!

Ah it was alright really.  We had good fun - but then I've got nothing to compare it to!  Didn't have much choice - it was the one I was assigned to and in those days (well, in my family and town) you just went to the one that was suggested.  None of this visiting them all and putting them in order of preference and appealing if you don't get in malarkey!

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