No Killing! This is Shrovetide Football - one of England's oldest sporting traditions

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Copa90
Copa90

Since the 12th Century, the people of Ashbourne, Derbyshire have been bloodying each other in the name of one crazy sport – Shrovetide Football.

Yesterday saw the start of a game that will last two days, as the North side of the village (the Up’ards) challenge the South side (the Down’ards) to carry the ball by any means to the opposing team’s goal – which are three miles apart.

The ball is rarely kicked, and can be handled in any way, though it tends to move slowly through the village in rugby-style ‘hugs’.

Some historians have theorised that this game may even be the origin of the term ‘local derby’.

shrovetide-1

The only strict rules of engagement are that there is to be no killing. Reassuringly, serious and unnecessary violence is ‘frowned upon’.

Rumours that Pepe and Diego Costa have been linked with a move to Derbyshire are as yet unsubstantiated.

Make sure you check out our Top 5 Weird Forms of Football – featuring this British bloodbath – below.

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