32 B.C.: during the age of Chinese
Emperor Ch'eng Ti, bamboo poles were erected with a silken
net stretched between to form a goal.
1681: A game was arranged between the
servants of the King, and those of the Duke of Albemarle.
The doorways of two forts were used as goals, and players
attempted to score by driving the ball through one of the
In the 17th century, a goal
consisted of two upright poles with nothing between them.
Tape was later introduced, attached to the top of each
upright stretching across the width of the goal. Prior to
the 1800s, a goal would consist of any fixed object such as
houses or trees, at any distance apart, from a few yards to
Players were allowed to throw the ball into the goals.
1801: Joseph Strutt describes the
composition of a goal structure as:
The goal is usually made with
two sticks driven into the ground two or three feet
1832: Uppington School rules:
A goal is scored whenever the
ball is forced through the goal and under the bar,
except it be thrown by the hand.
1848: The Cambridge rules:
Goal is when the ball is
kicked through the flag-posts and under the string.
The Eton rules:
The goal-sticks are to be 7
feet out of the ground and the space between eleven
feet. A "goal" is gained when the ball is kicked
between them, provided it is not above them.
There is no mention of a bar in the Cambridge University
The goals shall consist of two
upright poles at a distance of 15 feet from each
A goal is obtained when the
ball goes out of the ground by passing between the
poles or in such a manner that it would have passed
between them had they been of sufficient height.
In other words, because there was no
crossbar, there was no height restriction for a goal to be
as the world knows them today were originally designed in
In 1863 the English Football Association decreed that the
posts should be 8 yards apart (7.32m), a measurement which
has never altered since. Because players often argued
whether the ball had gone between the posts (for a goal) or
above (no goal), tape was then used to join the tops of the
the English Football Association decreed that "The
goals shall be upright posts, eight yards apart, with a tape
across them, eight feet from the ground".
In 1875 the wooden crossbar started to replace the tape, at
a height of 8 feet (2.44m) above the ground.
That is how the dimensions of the goals we know today have
evolved. But the shape of the posts and crossbar was another
Round or square-shaped goals were the most common until, in
1920, a Mr. J. C. Perkins of the Standard Goals company in
Nottingham, England, invented the much stronger elliptical
shape. Nottingham Forest was the first club in the world to
try them. Many Scottish clubs stayed with their square
designs for many years, but elliptical posts and bars are
now the favourite around the world. Though they too can
Until the 1980s, most goals were made from wood. Douglas Fir
was often the preferred choice of wood. In recent years,
however, much lighter aluminium or steel goals have become
more popular, especially with ground staff because
maintenance is now a lot easier.
But the goal post has basically remained unchanged for over