Victorian Football

field markings

This diagram shows how a football pitch was marked out in four separate years - 1869, 1883, 1892 and 1905. Of particular interest is the 1892 diagram. Note the lack of penalty areas - penalties were awarded for fouls inside the 12-yard lines, and the kick could be taken from anywhere along the line. Also unusual are the six-yard rings rather than six-yard boxes, the rings being easier to mark out using ropes tied to the goal posts. By 1905 the familiar pitch markings had been introduced, a major improvement over 1869, when there were no markings, only four corner flags. The diagram is from the 1905 Book of Football.

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3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The evolution of the football field – how pitches were marked out in 1869, 1883, 1892 and 1905”

  • Brian Webb

    20 May 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I have my doubts about the 1883 pitch. What I do know is that there had to be a half way line by 1885 as the goalkeeper could handle the ball anywhere in his own half – how else could the umpire/ref make a decision. In addition, Rule 27 of the F.A. rules gave a centre circle and the six yard arcs. See my website

  • Brian Webb

    19 August 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Have you seen the 1898 footage of Blackburn Rovers v West Brom? – it’s on the net. It appears to show an additional pitch marking not mentioned before. There is a line linking the two six yard line D’s. I had thought that this would have been a sensible addition but could not find any proof until now. The reason for the additional line surrounds a penalty kick. A penalty was taken on the 12 yard line and all players had to be 6 yards away. The two six yard arcs measure from each post. The keeper could stand on these lines if a penalty was taken from an angle. But if a penalty was taken right in front of goal there was no line for the keeper to stand on. The line in the footage mentioned appears to solve that.

  • Brian Webb

    29 August 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I have added an article on a pitch marking that I have never seen before – as mentioned in my 19th August post above. See Onlooker at

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