Penalty clauses: the introduction of football’s penalty kick law

Penalty kicks generated fierce opposition when they were first introduced to football in the early 1890s, with amateur players of the day outraged at the implication that any good sportsman would commit a deliberate or “professional” foul. They protested by refusing to score or save them. This article for When Saturday Comes looks at the introduction of the penalty kick law, and the opposition it generated.

“It is a standing insult to sportsmen to have to play under a rule which assumes that the players intend to trip, hack and push their opponents, and behave like cads of the most unscrupulous kidney.” So said CB Fry, the famous sportsman, polymath and almost-King of Albania, following the introduction, in the early 1890s, of the deeply unpopular penalty kick.

Read the full story in issue 363 of When Saturday Comes.