Combination Game - Queens Park FC, 1867 - 1882: Pioneers of The Modern Passing Game - The Rules of The Field, 1867

The Rules of The Field, 1867

On 9 August 1867, one month after the club's formation, the 'Rules of the Field' were discussed and accepted by the Queen's Park committee. They were based on the Association rules of the period but the club made a number of changes, the most notable being the offside rule. In 1866 the FA had moved from a rugby style offside rule preventing the ball from being passed forward to a three man ruling. Queen's Park would adopt an even more radical approach, which by its design, would open up the game even more to the forward pass. The rule was recorded as follows,

Sixth.—When a player has kicked the ball, any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponents' goal-line is out of play, and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so, until the ball has been played, unless there are at least two of his opponents between him and their own goal, who must not be more than fifteen yards from the goal-line; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked from behind the goal-line.

Offside only came into being 15 yards from the goal and even then only two defenders were required to be goal side for a player to be onside. The openness of the rule allowed players to be deployed across the field and encouraged the forward pass. In some respects the rule has similarity to the Sheffield code in that it enabled the long forward pass but, unlike the Sheffield code, it also prevented players from poaching or sneaking in front of goal. This carefully considered adaptation of the offside rule demonstrates the meticulous planning and organisation behind the club. It would win the club many admirers including William McGregor, 'Father of the Football League', who pays the following tribute,

Queen’s Park were the first team to develop scientific play. The club must be regarded as a striking example of what good management can accomplish.

Although the game of the late 1860s was rudimentary, the basis for the club's playing style, and the men who would make it happen, all date from this early period. From this era the passing game of Queen's Park would evolve from simplistic to systematic forms of combination which would be copied throughout Scotland and the UK.

Read more about this topic:  Combination Game, Queens Park FC, 1867, 1882: Pioneers of The Modern Passing Game

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