The first rule of mob football is you can't commit murder

"Shrovetide football" is the most bizarre sport you've never heard of.

The great country of England has given us many wonderful things; fish and chips, Downton Abbey, that thing where you hold your pinkie out while drinking tea. Shrovetide or "mob" football is none of these things and could just be the craziest sport we've ever heard of... ever.

Core rules are simple: Tap a ball against a goal three times and you win. Wait for it though, this is where it gets a little weird (we use "little" loosely).


It's basically like willingly participating in a Black Friday stampede, vaguely disguised as sport. Does that sound appealing? Don't worry, because there are some core rules that The Week outlined to keep you protected.

The game has only a handful of rules. Players are not allowed to commit murder or manslaughter, and the ball cannot be put into a bag or driven in a motorised vehicle. Also, cemeteries, churchyards and the town memorial gardens are strictly out of bounds.


This isn't one of those cute hyperbolic warnings designed to show off "mob football" as tough. The people of Ashbourne are genuinely fearful of losing their livlihood over the game, boarding up their windows -- hoping things will be okay.

"Most of the shops along the street are boarded up ahead of the game," Kent said. "We close the shop over the two days when thousands of people come into the town. I've never taken part myself but we do follow the game. It's an experience, that's for sure."

Thankfully it will all be over soon, right? A few hours of madness then everyone can go take a nice long nap.


The Ashbourne game is played over two days, starting each day at 2pm and finishing at 10pm.

Oh cool. What's this? Just a giant screaming mob roaming the town for eight hours a day for two days straight. Seriously England, when you decide to cut loose NOBODY in the world is better at turning it up to 11.

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