Universal football

Universal football was the name given to a proposed hybrid sport of Australian rules football and rugby league, proposed at different times between 1908 and 1933 as a potential national football code to be played throughout Australia. The game was trialled, but it was never otherwise played in any regular competition.

Universal football
Highest governing bodyAustralian National Football Council and New South Wales Rugby League
First proposed1908
Characteristics
ContactFull contact
Team members14–15 per side
TypeField
EquipmentFootball
Presence
Country or regionAustralia
ObsoleteYes

Background and early proposals

By the early 20th century, Australian rules football, which had originated in Victoria in 1858, had been established as the dominant football code in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, holding that position since the 1870s or 1880s. Rugby football, which originated in the English Rugby School, had been the dominant code in New South Wales and Queensland throughout the same time, although the preeminence of the traditional rugby union code was usurped by the newer and professional rugby league code with its introduction from northern England to Australia in 1907.

The idea of combining the two sports to create a "universal football" code to be played throughout Australia, and potentially around the world, arose at around the same time as rugby league began in Australia. The first conference addressing the matter was held in 1908 between the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL), led by the league's founding administrator J. J. Giltinan, and Australian rules football officials, led by Australasian Football Council (AFC) president Con Hickey, with the view towards developing a hybrid set of rules which could be proposed to England's Northern Rugby Football Union (the English administrative body for rugby league) on the upcoming 1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain[1] – rugby league as a code distinct from rugby union was a small and new code at the time, prominent only in northern England since 1895 and in Australasia for only a few years, so major rule changes which could be adopted worldwide were still a possibility. However, there was no action resolved from this initial conference.[2]

1914–15 proposal

The furtherest progressed attempt to develop a universal football code took place in 1914–15. Following two major football events in Sydney during mid-1914 – the Great Britain Lions rugby league tour and the 1914 Australian rules football interstate carnival – the motivation of the NSWRL and AFC to unify the Australian football codes was heightened.[3] Many administrators from both sports supported an amalgamation.[4] Sportswriters noted that there was a mutual financial benefit to the AFC and the NSWRL, which was considered to be the chief motivation for progressing towards amalgamation: the NSWRL had only one meaningful interstate rival (Queensland), and its tours to England generally lost money, so having more interstate rivals would generate additional interest and gate takings;[5] the AFC also had the opportunity to gain additional interstate and international rivals;[4] the AFC would gain the benefit of the strong financial position of the NSWRL; and amalgamation would put an end to the outflow of money which each body had expended attempting unsuccessfully to promote its code in the other's territory.[5][6] Sportswriters were divided on whether or not English administrators would support adopting the changes globally, with the main argument in favour being that English sides had made strong profits when touring Australasia and that they may seek to preserve that capability.[4][5] Many sportswriters, among them respected Australian rules football sportswriters Jack Worrall and Reginald Wilmot, criticised the administrative bodies for putting their financial considerations ahead of the quality of the respective games, and predicted that fans across Australia would react negatively to changes to their favoured codes.[5][6]

Proposed rules

A conference was held in November 1914 and a preliminary code of rules was drawn up. Key features of the proposed rules were as follows:[7]

  • The game would be played on a rectangular field 160 yards long and 100 yards wide – similar in size to an Australian rules football field, and the same shape as but much larger than a rugby league field. There would be a distance of 140 yards between the goal lines, with a 10 yard in-goal area at each end.
  • The game would be played fifteen players per side – compared with thirteen per side in rugby league and eighteen per side in Australian rules football.
  • There would be a set of rugby-style goal posts on each goal line, with two uprights 18 feet apart and a crossbar 10 feet high. A goal would have to pass between the uprights and over the crossbar to count.
  • The game would be played with an oval shaped ball, which was common to both sports.
  • The methods of scoring, which combined scoring methods from both parent codes, would be:
    • Grounding the ball in team's attacking in-goal area for a try – three points plus an attempt at a conversion
    • Goal scored from general play – two points
    • Goal from a mark or free kick, or a conversion – one point
    • Grounding the ball in the team's defensive in-goal area for a "touch-down" or "force" – one point conceded
  • The rugby league scrum would be abolished, and play would be restarted by Australian rules football means: a ball-up, by which the umpire bounces the ball into the air, within the field of play or a boundary throw-in by the umpire from outside the touch line.
  • A deliberate kick for goal or conversion would be taken by the player who marked the ball or scored the try as in Australian rules, rather than by a designated goalkicker as in rugby league.
  • Throwing the ball as in rugby league would be permitted
  • Forward passes and knock-ons would not be permitted, as in rugby league
  • Tackling between the hips and shoulders would be permitted, as in rugby league.Note 1

The most significant sticking point to developing the hybrid code, and indeed the most significant difference between rugby and Australian rules gameplay, was offside – a concept fundamental to rugby league and fundamentally absent from Australian rules football. The conference did not settle on a definitive hybrid solution for the offside issue, but early proposals were for the offside rule to be in effect in the forward quarters of the field, but not in effect elsewhere on the field.[7][8]

Proposed amalgamation

The progress at the conference was strong and amalgamation between the two sports looked likely. The conference concluded that some changes would be made to both codes in 1915 to bring them closer together, with a view to also playing exhibition matches of a fully hybridised code in 1915 with the potential for complete hybridisation as early as 1916;[9] although it was thought by some observers that a gradual hybridisation under which annual rule changes which brought the codes progressively closer together over five to ten years until the two codes were uniform might be a more realistic approach.[7]

The initial set of changes slated in November 1914 for the 1915 season were: Australian rules football would add the crossbar to its goalposts over which goals were to be kicked, would disallow forward handpasses or knock-ons, and adopt the stronger tackling rules; and rugby league would replace the scrum with the ball-up and throw-in, and require the try-scorer to take his own conversion kicks.[10] The NSWRL approved these changes to its rules immediately, conditional on the AFC also approving; but administrative procedures within the AFC meant that each of the Australian rules football state leagues needed to hold its own vote on the matter before the majority position of the AFC delegates would be known[4] – the time required to stage these state votes, and then convene another meeting of AFC delegates to formalise a combined vote (in an era when interstate travel was by rail or ship) meant that any changes to the rules would be delayed from being put into practice until at least 1916.[11]

Over the early months of 1915, the issue was discussed at state league general meetings, with the South Australian Football League approving in January,[10] the New South Wales Football League approving in February,[12] West Australian Football League rejecting the changes in March,[13][14] and the Victorian Football League approving in April.[15] At the same time, fighting in World War I was escalating, and football was increasingly becoming secondary to the war effort. The Tasmanian Football League, when discussing the rule changes in March 1915, decided against providing any decision on the matter due to the war,[16] and the positions of the Queensland Football League and the Goldfields Football League were not known. The Queensland Rugby League was not involved in the amalgamation discussions at all, having been neither consulted nor notified by the NSWRL.[17]

The war effort ultimately precluded any further meetings of AFC delegates. As such, even though gaining the requisite three-quarters majority support for the new rules appeared at worst to be an even chance, the AFC never had the opportunity to put the rule changes to a formal vote of delegates, and therefore could not approve them; the NSWRL's conditional approval of changes to its rules lapsed, and any efforts towards amalgamation were put on hold indefinitely.[18] In its first post-war meeting in December 1919, the AFC discussed whether or not to revive the issue of amalgamation, but owing to improved popularity of rugby league in New South Wales, Queensland and England since the war, decided that it would not consider amalgamation any further unless approached again on the issue by the NSWRL.[18] This never happened, and the two sports progressed on separate paths thereafter.

1933 revisit

The concept was revisited briefly in 1933, in large part through the enthusiasm of long-serving secretaries Harold R. Miller (of the NSWRL) and Con Hickey (of the renamed Australian National Football Council), both of whom had been involved in 1914.[19] A code of rules mostly unchanged from 1914 was prepared. Key differences or clarifications were: the game was to be played 14-a-side; the off-side rules of rugby were resolved formally to apply within 35 yards of the goals but not elsewhere on the field; knocking-on was permitted from a ball-up but not in general play; and scoring was adjusted such that a try was worth three points and all goals worth two, consistent with rugby league scoring at the time.[20][21]

A private trial match with only NSWRL and AFC officials present was held on 11 August 1933 at the Sydney Showground, during the Australian rules football interstate carnival which was being held in Sydney at the time. The game was played at reduced 12-a-side numbers[20] by members of the visiting Queensland Australian rules football team some New South Wales rugby league players. The pace of the game was noted as being very fast, and that some of the play was quite spectacular, but the players' unfamiliarity with the rules meant the trial did not give a truly fair assessment of the potential of the game.[22]

Shortly following the trial, delegates from the NSWRL – many of whom had been opposed to the trial in the first place – formally voted that it would not proceed any further with universal football.[23] The concept has never since been revisited. The regional division between the preeminence of rugby league in north-eastern Australia and Australian rules football in the rest of the country, sometimes characterised in the context of the "Barassi Line", persists to the modern day.

Footnotes

1.^ Tackling was not a common feature of Australian rules football at the time, although it was permissible. Under the holding the ballholding the man rules in place at that time, if a player in possession of the ball was "caught"[24] – which could mean tackled, held or sometimes even just touched by an opponent – he had to drop the ball immediately or a free kick would be paid for holding the ball; however, if the opponent continued to hold the player for any length of time after the ball was legally dropped, a free kick for holding the man would be paid. In practice, holding the man free kicks were applied so stringently that any attempt to make a rugby-style tackle would end in a holding the man free kick after the ball was dropped, so tackling had virtually disappeared from the game.[5] The proposal to allow rugby-style tackling allowed for a player to complete a fair tackle without being penalised.

References

  1. ^ "Universal Football – conference in Melbourne". The Evening Star. Boulder, WA. 20 August 1908. p. 3.
  2. ^ Rover (28 September 1908). "Retrospect of the football season". Evening Journal. Adelaide, SA. p. 2.
  3. ^ "Football carnival – Queensland defeated". Leader. Melbourne, VIC. 15 August 1914. pp. 20–21.
  4. ^ a b c d Pivot (28 November 1914). "Football amalgamation – Australian and rugby codes". Leader. Melbourne, VIC. p. 21.
  5. ^ a b c d e J. W. (24 April 1915). "The amalgamation scheme". The Australasian. XCVIII (2560). Melbourne, VIC. p. 819.
  6. ^ a b "Practice games – the amalgamation idea". The Argus. Melbourne, VIC. 16 April 1915. p. 12.
  7. ^ a b c "Aus." (12 February 1915). "Football – New game explained". Westralian Worker. Perth, WA. p. 8.
  8. ^ "Rival football games". Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW. 21 November 1914. p. 8.
  9. ^ "Football amalgamation – Sydney league favourable". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 25 November 1914. p. 11.
  10. ^ a b "Football reform". The Register. Adelaide, SA. 23 January 1915. p. 7.
  11. ^ "National football". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 17 April 1915. p. 12.
  12. ^ "Football amalgamation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. 2 February 1915. p. 10.
  13. ^ "Meeting of the W.A.F.L.". The West Australian. Perth, WA. 4 March 1915. p. 4.
  14. ^ Boundary (1 May 1915). "Football – Australian game". The West Australian. Perth, WA. p. 9.
  15. ^ "Australian rules game". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. 17 April 1915. p. 20.
  16. ^ "Annual meeting of the league – the proposed universal code". The Mercury. Hobart, TAS. 30 March 1915. p. 8.
  17. ^ "Queensland Rugby League". Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette. XLVIII (7358). Gympie, QLD. 3 April 1915. p. 4.
  18. ^ a b "Australian Football Council". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 30 December 1919. p. 7.
  19. ^ "One common code of football for Australia". Referee. Sydney, NSW. 20 July 1933. p. 1.
  20. ^ a b "Football codes – conference ends". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. 12 August 1933. p. 14.
  21. ^ "New game of football". Recorder. Port Pirie, SA. 12 August 1933. p. 1.
  22. ^ "The new game – trial matches in Sydney". Advocate. Burnie, TAS. 12 August 1933. p. 7.
  23. ^ "To be dropped – proposed amalgamation – football codes". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. Newcastle, NSW. 15 August 1933. p. 8.
  24. ^ "Australasian Football Council". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 29 December 1919. p. 5.
1933 Sydney Carnival

The 1933 Sydney Carnival was the eighth edition of the Australian National Football Carnival, an Australian rules football interstate competition. The carnival was held in Sydney over an eleven-day period between Wednesday 2 August and Saturday 12 August.During the competition, Queensland broke a 20-game carnival losing streak when they accounted for Canberra by 42 points. The Canberrans were competing in their inaugural Australian National Football Carnival.

New South Wales were the better of the weaker set of teams, defeating each of Tasmania, Canberra and Queensland. Once more, South Australian and Western Australia outfits were no match for Victoria.During the carnival, Australian rules football officials entered a conference with New South Wales Rugby League officials with the view to developing a hybrid between the two sports, known as universal football. A trial match featuring members of the Queensland team was held in private on Friday 11 August, but nothing further came of the proposal.

Australian National Football Council

The Australian National Football Council (ANFC) was the national governing body for Australian rules football in Australia from 1906 until 1995. The council was a body of delegates representing each of the sport's individual state leagues which controlled football in their states. The council was the owner of the laws of the game and managed interstate administrative and football matters. Its function was superseded by the AFL Commission.

The council underwent several name changes during its existence, and at different times it was also known as: the Australasian Football Council (1906–1919), the Australian Football Council (1920–1927 and 1973–1975), the National Football League (NFL) (1975–1989) and the National Australian Football Council (NAFC) (1989–1995).

Australian rules football in New South Wales

Australian rules football has been played in New South Wales since the 1870s; however it has a chequered history in the state and has generally been overshadowed in popularity as a winter sport by the rugby football codes. Compared to rugby league, Australian football had a small presence in Sydney until the 1980s. The sport is popular elsewhere in the state, and has been the dominant code in the Riverina (the region of New South Wales closest to Victoria) and Broken Hill (located near the South Australian border). Its popularity is constantly increasing northward, across what is known as the Barassi Line.

The code's recent growth in popularity in Sydney (where the majority of the state's population lives) has been partly tied to the success of the Sydney Swans which relocated from Melbourne in 1982. Since 1996, when it first made the Grand Final, the club has generated media hype and public interest as well as greater participation for the sport. Due to successive finals appearances the interest has been sustained over many seasons, most notably in 2005 and 2006 with two successive Grand Final appearances and the club's first premiership since its relocation. Another Swans premiership win in 2012 and the introduction of a second AFL team in Sydney, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, has increased the momentum behind Australian football in Sydney.

Australian regional rivalries have played a large role in the Swans' popularity. Ironically, the cultural rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne significantly hampers the sport's growth in New South Wales. In 2008 the AFL stated their intention to establish a second team in Sydney by 2012, to be an expansion team based in the western suburbs. An Australian Senate enquiry into the Tasmanian AFL Bid concluded that Sydney had "insurmountable cultural barriers" to the establishment of a second AFL team. In spite of this, the second Sydney club was successfully established and commenced AFL competition in 2012. In Sydney, parts of northern New South Wales and to the majority of the state's population, the sport is referred to as "AFL", but in the Riverina region, it is often referred to as "Aussie rules", "footy" or "football".

CX 22 Radio Universal

CX 22 Radio Universal is a Uruguayan Spanish-language AM radio station that broadcasts from Montevideo.

Con Hickey

Cornelius Michael "Con" Hickey (1866 – 27 October 1937) was an Australian rules football player and administrator for the Fitzroy Football Club, and administrator for the Victorian Football League (VFL) and the Australian National Football Council (ANFC).

Football

Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears. Sports commonly called football in certain places include association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby league or rugby union); and Gaelic football. These different variations of football are known as football codes.

There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games at English public schools during the nineteenth century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century, distinct regional codes were already developing: Gaelic football, for example, deliberately incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the twentieth century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.

Hybrid sport

A hybrid sport is one which combines two or more (often similar) sports in order to create a new sport, or to allow meaningful competition between players of those sports.

The most popular hybrid sport in terms of attendance and television viewers is international rules football.

Kī-o-rahi

Kī-o-rahi is a ball sport played in New Zealand with a small round ball called a 'kī'. It is a fast-paced game incorporating skills similar to rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target. The game is played with varying rules (e.g. number of people, size of field, tag ripping rules etc.) depending on the geographic area it is played in. A process called Tatu, before the game, determines which rules the two teams will use.

In 2005 kī-o-rahi was chosen to represent New Zealand by global fast-food chain McDonald's as part of its 'Passport to Play' programme to teach physical play activities in 31,000 American schools.

The programme will give instruction in 15 ethnic games to seven million primary school children.The New Zealand kī-o-rahi representative organisation, Kī-o-Rahi Akotanga Iho, formed with men's and women's national teams, completed a 14 match tour of Europe in September and October 2010. The men's team included 22-test All Black veteran Wayne Shelford who led the team to a 57–10 test win against Kī-o-Rahi Dieppe Organisation, the French Kī-o-Rahi federation.

Shelford's kī-o-rahi test jersey made him the first kī-o-rahi/rugby double international for NZ. The women's team coached by Andrea Cameron (Head of PE at Tikipunga High School) also won by 33–0. These were the first historic test matches between NZ and France.

List of sports

The following is a list of sports/games, divided by category.

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.

Quidditch (sport)

Quidditch is a sport of two teams of seven players each mounted on broomsticks played on a hockey rink-sized pitch. It is based on a fictional game of the same name invented by author J. K. Rowling, which is featured in the Harry Potter series of novels and related media.[3] The game is also sometimes referred to as muggle quidditch to distinguish it from the fictional game, which involves magical elements such as flying broomsticks and enchanted balls. In the Harry Potter universe, a "muggle" is a person without the power to use magic.

The pitch is rectangular with rounded corners 55 meters (60 yards) by 33 meters (36 yards) with three hoops of varying heights at either end.[4] The sport was created in 2005 and is therefore still quite young. However, quidditch is played around the world and actively growing.[5] The ultimate goal is to have more points than the other team by the time the snitch, a tennis ball inside a long sock hanging from the shorts of an impartial official dressed in yellow, is caught. Rules of the sport are governed by the International Quidditch Association, or the IQA, and events are sanctioned by either the IQA or that nation's governing body.

To score points, chasers or keepers must get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, into one of three of the opposing hoops which scores the team 10 points.[6] To impede the quaffle from advancing down the pitch, chasers and keepers are able to tackle opposing chasers and keepers at the same time as beaters using their bludgers—dodgeballs—to take out opposing players. Once a player is hit by an opposing bludger, that player must dismount their broom, drop any ball being held, and return to and touch their hoops before being allowed back into play.[7] The game is ended once the snitch is caught by one of the seekers, awarding that team 30 points.[8]A team consists of minimum seven (maximum 21) players, of which six are always on the pitch, those being the three chasers, one keeper, and two beaters. Besides the seeker who is off-pitch, the six players are required to abide by the gender rule, which states that a team may have a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender, making quidditch one of the few sports that not only offers a co-ed environment but an open community to those who do not identify with the gender binary.[10] Matches or games often run about 30 to 40 minutes but tend to be subject to varying lengths of time due to the unpredictable nature of the snitch catch. If the score at the end of the match including the 30 point snitch catch is tied (such that the team that caught the snitch was 30 points behind the other), the game moves to overtime where the snitch is constrained to the pitch's dimensions and the game ends after five minutes or when the snitch is legally caught.

Rugby football

Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union, but generally refers to rugby union due to its popularity throughout the globe.Legend claims that rugby football was started about 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty-one amateur clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU)/Northern Union (later to be named rugby league in 1922) in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over broken-time payments to players who took time off work to play the sport, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay players it was 100 years later in 1995, following the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa that rugby union would turn fully professional.Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby (rugby union) and the Rugby League International Federation (rugby league). Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.

The Three-Body Problem (novel)

The Three-Body Problem (Chinese: 三体; literally: 'Three-Body'; pinyin: sān tǐ) is a hard science fiction novel by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin. It is the first novel of the Remembrance of Earth's Past (Chinese: 地球往事) trilogy, but Chinese readers generally refer to the whole series by the title of this first novel. The second and third novels in the trilogy are titled The Dark Forest and Death's End. The title of the first novel refers to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics.

The work was serialized in Science Fiction World in 2006, published as a book in 2008 and became one of the most popular science fiction novels in China. It received the Chinese Science Fiction Yinhe Award ("Galaxy Award") in 2006. A film adaptation of the same name is

in production.

The English translation by Ken Liu was published by Tor Books in 2014. It was the first Asian novel ever to win a Hugo Award for Best Novel, in 2015 and was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel.(In this article, Chinese names are written with the family name first and given name second. Liu Cixin's family name is Liu. Ken Liu's surname is also Liu; he is American and uses the English order.)

Universal Football Club

Universal Football Club was an Uruguayan football club based in Montevideo that participated in the Primera División in the 1910s and 1920s before being dissolved.

Variations of Australian rules football

Variations of Australian rules football are games or activities based on or similar to the game of Australian rules football, in which the player uses common Australian rules football skills. They range in player numbers from 2 (in the case of kick-to-kick) up to the minimum 38 required for a full Australian rules football.

Some are essentially identical to Australian rules football, with only minor rule changes, while others are more distant and arguably not simple variations but distinct games. Others still have adapted to the unavailability of full-sized cricket fields. Other variations include children's games, contests or activities intended to help the player practice or reinforce skills, which may or may not have a competitive aspect.

Most of the variations are played in informal settings, without the presence of umpires and sometimes without strict adherence to official game rules.

Basket sports
Football codes
Bat-and-ball games
Stick and ball sports
Net sports
Other sports

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