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deVos: The 'Unwritten Rules of Football'

Jason deVos
1/20/2014 6:19:38 PM
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Every sport has a list of unwritten rules; a unique code of conduct by which the game is expected to be played. These rules get passed down from generation to generation, but you can't actually find them anywhere - until now.

With a nod to my TSN colleagues and followers on Twitter, here are the 'Unwritten Rules of Football'.

Rule #1 - Respect the rules.

Rule #2 - Play until you hear the whistle.

Rule #3 - Football boots are black and white and made from leather.
*If you wear anything else, expect to be kicked by your opponents and called a poseur by your teammates. Unless you are Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, in which case, carry on.

Rule #4 - Socks are to be pulled up to the knee and no further.
*See rule #3.

Rule #5 - The only player on the field who should be wearing gloves - regardless of the weather conditions - is the goalkeeper.
*Again, see rule #3.

Rule #6 - Magic spray is actually magic.

Rule #7 - If you're injured, get off the field. If you're hurt, suck it up.

Rule #8 - Unless you were on the terraces as a boy supporting the team you now play for, do not kiss the badge. Ever.

Rule #9 - Classy players never celebrate when they score against their former teams.

Rule #10 - If a player misses an easy chance, he must immediately look at the ground and inspect it for any clumps of turf. If he finds nothing amiss, he must then inspect his boots to determine the exact cause of the miss.

Rule #11 - When playing the offside trap, the chances of getting the call are directly proportional to the ability of the back four to each raise one arm and shout "OFFSIDE!" in unison.

Rule #12 - If the offside trap doesn't work, blame the fullback.

Rule #13 - All corner kick takers must raise one arm before taking the kick. This is the universal signal for "I'm taking the kick now!"

Rule #14 - Players must always acknowledge their supporters at the conclusion of a game by walking towards them and applauding. Don't overdo it though, or you will be ridiculed by your teammates for being "busy".

Rule #15 - When losing a cup game, goalkeepers must always come up for corner kicks in stoppage time, regardless of the fact that they have never won a header in their lives.

Rule #16 - Under no circumstances are defenders allowed to wear anything but short sleeved shirts.
*This rule was passed directly to me by former England captain, Terry Butcher. As such, it is written in stone.

Rule #17 - Goalkeepers are a strange breed. Accept it - they will never change.

Rule #18 - Nutmegs only count if you collect the ball on the other side.

Rule #19 - Cuts that require stitches do not also require an aesthetic to "numb the pain". Stitch it up and get back in the game.

Rule #20 - Any foul, no matter how egregious, must always be protested by the offending player, usually by exclaiming the following: "But I got the ball, ref!"

Rule #21 - Goalkeepers must always spit into the palms of their gloves at the beginning of each half, must smack the bottom of their boots against each post, must have a water bottle in their goal and must have a towel that they drape in the side netting of their goal (regardless of the weather conditions).
*See rule #17

Rule #22 - 20 consecutive passes in a rondo means that both defenders stay in twice. Being nutmegged in a rondo means that the victim stays in twice.

Rule #23 - When a defender makes a spectacular block, he is not allowed to show any outward signs of being in excruciating pain. He must immediately start organizing his teammates by pointing to the opponents and yelling "Pick up!"

Rule #24 - Any manager that is given a "vote of confidence" from his chairman should immediately update his resumé.

Rule #25 - What is said in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room.

Rule #26 - After scoring a goal, never point to the name on the back of your shirt - it's the one on the front that matters.

Rule #27 - If a player goes down with injury, kick the ball into touch. If the opponent does this for your team, throw it back to them when play resumes.

Rule #28 - If an opponent commits a foul on your teammate, do not wave an imaginary card at the referee.

Rule #29 - Diving should be done into a swimming pool, river, lake or ocean. Not on grass.

Rule #30 - If a Canadian-born player switches their international allegiance to another country to further their professional career, fans are free to call them a traitor. Alternatively, fans can say that the player has "pulled a Hargreaves" or "pulled a Leroux".

If you'd like to add to "The Unwritten Rules of Football", leave your suggestions in the comments section below. Only those deemed to be worthy will make the list.

Jason deVos

Jason deVos

As one of Canada's most accomplished soccer players, Jason deVos spent nearly 20 years on the pitch playing competitive soccer at the highest professionallevels in Canada and around the world. After retiring from international play, deVos began his broadcasting career as a soccer analyst with the CBC and GOLTV. Most recently he provided commentary and analysis for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for the CBC.

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