YearLawsChanges
1897-98

Laws of the Australian game of football (VFL)

Minimum height of goal posts mandated
Field umpire required to approve ball
Goal to count for six points, behinds to count one point. Both tallied for final score
Spectator interference concerning scores removed
Ball to be thrown in if goes out of bounds (not bounced)
Free kick when a kick-off from behind goes directly out of bounds
Introduction of goal square
Length of kick for a mark extended to 10 yards
Area of protection at free-kick extended to 10 yards
Time wasting penalised by a free-kick (not bounce) and reported
Unduly interfering with a player kicking for goal to be reported
Length of run without bounce extended to 10 yards
Free kick to the tackler if a held player fails to immediately drop the ball
Fre kick to a player held unduly after dropping the ball when held
Illegal footwear may now be replaced during match
Forced behind allowed (now results in score)
Pushing from behind permitted [amended after round 1 to previous law]
1899-1900

Laws of the Australian game of football (VFL)

Player numbers limited to 18-per side
1901-05

Laws of the Australian game of football (VFL)

Provision for replacing incapacitated umpire
1906-09

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Dimensions of ball proscribed
Half time extended to 15 minutes.
Ball touched after the first sound of the bell shall be dead
Free kick for ball kicked in from beyond the goal square
No player to be within 10 yards of goal square prior to kick-in
Clarification of free-kick for handing or throwing the ball to another player
Free kick for striking with fist or elbow
1910

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Boundary umpires given power to report.
Player allowed to be pushed or shouldered if the ball is within 5 yards (noted in instructions only)
Codification of the role of boundary umpires (if appointed) and specific duties including: sole judge of out of bounds; throw in between 5-8 yards and more than 10 yards high towards centre of ground, only five yards long if within 20 yards of behind post; signal with white flag on wrist; repeated out of bounds in same place results in boundary umpire bouncing ball five yards into playing ground.
1911

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Provision for a circle of 5 feet in diameter in the centre of the ground. No players to encroach before the bounce. Removal of provision for players to begin 'in proper position'
Field umpire to be sole judge of sound of bell.
Clarification that a goal is kicked by an attacking player.
Play on to be called if a player deviates from the mark while kicking for goal.
Goal umpires given power to report players.
Increase in distance of throw in from out of bounds now between 5-15 yards
Stipulation that the ball must be thrown in over the boundary umpires head.
Notes for field and boundary umpires replaced by Interpretations.
  • At kick in from behind ball to be kicked clear of hand and foot.
  • Definition of mark now includes holding ball for a reasonable time.
  • Player not hearing "touched-play on" call not to be penalised if held after taking mark.
  • Bounce if free kick unable to be taken.
  • No limit of number of players allowed to stand mark.
  • Player must go back behind mark after free kick
  • Free kick not to be awarded if side offended against disadvantaged
  • Lying on the ball deemed to be possession.
  • Definition of handball included
  • Ball striking umpire to have no effect on play (including goal and boundary umpires)
  • Goal umpire decision of behind to over rule boundary umpire's decision of out of bounds.
  • Provision that when a goal umpire does not see whether or not the ball crossed the scoring line the ball is to be bounced on the centre of the kick-off line
  • Provision that when a goal umpire does not see who kicked the ball across the line the ball to be bounced from the spot where the ball was kicked.
  • Provision that ball is deemed to be touched if kicked off ground while another players hand is touching it
  • Umpires dressing rooms to be kept clear of all except umpires and trainers
  • Umpires to wear boots on on wet days
  • Boundary umpire to inform field umpire if out of bounds signal not seen - ball to be thrown in.
  • Provision for goal umpires to rectify mistake immediately
  • Process for reporting players set out: notification to players and clubs by all umpires
1912

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Umpire to signal to timekeepers that the bell has been heard by blowing whistle and raising arm. Timekeepers to continue ring bell until so acknowledged
Provision for organising body to appoint stewards with power to report.
Player must drop the ball 'at once' when held by an opponent
1920

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Centre circle diameter increased to 8 feet
Change to interpretation of of a tackle from "caught" to "held" required the player to drop the ball
Increase in distance of throw in from out of bounds now between 5-15 yards
1925

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Free kick against the last team to put the ball out of bounds
Kick striking goal post when bringing ball back into play beyond the goal line results in aanother kick
Only one player may stand the mark when a player if shooting for goal, otherwise no limit.
Handball defined, hand must be clenched
1928

Laws of the Australian game of football (ANFC)

Major reorganisation of layout of laws.
Many interpretations and instructions for umpires incorporated as laws. Reportable offences bought together for first time
Goal line redefined to mean line between goal posts. Behind line defined as line between goal and behind posts.
Starting time fixed at 3 pm or such time as controlling body approves.
Area of protection for mark or free-kick changed to 10-yard radius semi circle from point of mark.
Player going over mark to be ordered back to mark. Failure to do so results in report
Clarification that whole of ball must be over boundary line to be out-of-bounds
Player kicking into a behind post from beyond the scoring or boundary lines to be given another kick.
Tackled player now has option of disposing of the football by foot or hand as well as dropping it immediately. Free-kick awarded to opponent for failure to do so. Player must be firmly held, progress retarded
Players allowed to touch the ball on the ground in lieu of bouncing
Place kick may be replaced if it falls over prior to kicking
A player bouncing the football is judged to be in possession of it
Free kick to be awarded against a player interfering with an umpire bouncing the ball
Free kicks may be cancelled by calling 'Play on'
Free kick to be awarded against a player laying on the ball while held and remaining in possession
Following a free kick for out of bounds if a further offence takes place by a player of the penalised side free kick to be taken at the point of further offence. If subsequent offence is by the side taking the freekick for out of bounds the free kick will be reversed.
Provision for further free kick to be paid if further offence occurs after initial free kick paid. Kick to be taken at point of most advantage to team receiving kick.
If boundary umpires signal is not seen and free kick is awarded out of bounds lapses
Umpires not to converse with club officials
Instruction that boundary umpires are to return the ball to the field umpire after a goal is scored (introduced VFL 1924)
Specific time limits for goal umpires to change decision - before bounce if goal, before kick-off if behind wrongly signalled
Time on to be added after goal and behinds
Specific instances when 'time on' to be added.
Goal umpire unable to decide who kicked ball across line - behind to be registered.
More detailed process for reporting of players proscribed
Timekeepers duties proscribed