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History of Field Markings

The markings on a modern football pitch are one of the most familiar images of the modern era, as instantly recognisable as the twin arches of McDonald's or the curve of a Coke bottle.

The markings evolved in Britain between 1863 and 1902.

1863 Field Markings
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1863 pitch markings

When the English Football Association formed, pitch markings were not specified. Instead, flags marked the corners. The pitch could measure up to 200 yards long (180 metres) and up to 100 yards wide (90 metres). The goal posts were set 8 yards apart (7.32 metres), a measurement which has remained the same ever since.

1891 Field Markings
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1891 pitch markings

The revised rules required goal lines and touch lines to be marked, plus a centre circle, the goalkeepers' areas, and a 12 yard line from the goal. A penalty kick could be taken from anywhere along that 12 yard line. An optional 18 yard line across the full width of the pitch was also introduced, to denote the penalty area. The penalty kick was an idea suggested by the Irish Football Association in 1890. Little did the Irish know then what agonies and ecstasies they were to unleash upon the sporting public!

1902 Field Markings
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1902 pitch markings

The modern pitch markings finally came into being in 1902, with an added halfway line, goal areas, penalty areas and a penalty spot as we know it today. There would be only one further change. The penalty arc was added in 1937 after suggestions from various European Football Associations. It is, therefore, the only part of the football pitch markings not 'Made in Britain.'

 





Pitch Markings

 
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Granville District Football Referees Association - The Official Web Site