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Football mad - mad football!

To use the idea of rules in a sporting event to explore how we all need to agree and live by rules in our communities.

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To use the idea of rules in a sporting event to explore how we all need to agree and live by rules in our communities.

Preparation and materials

  • The first part of the assembly is a mock TV sports programme, so some opening music would be good, such as the theme music of Match of the Day or ‘Beautiful Day’ by U2.
  • Some simple props such as microphone and clipboard could be used, and you could dress in an appropriate style.
  • Some children could be rehearsed to read Jessica’s story.


  1. Begin with the mock TV sports programme. Play the theme music, then launch into presenter mode.

    Good evening, I’m Gary Vinegar, and welcome back to this special World Cup Final edition of Match of the Night. If you’ve just tuned in, it’s half-time and what a first half you’ve missed: so far, England are leading Brazil 23 goals to 22.

    Oh, I ought to explain – just a few minutes before the match, an announcement was made by someone official who felt that the other World Cup matches have been a bit boring, a bit ‘samey’. So for the final match they’ve changed the rules. In fact, they’ve got rid of them altogether. Players can now do whatever they want.

    Wayne Spooney soon got into the swing of this and was quick to combine his trademark crossing with some lovely netball passes. About 20 minutes in, Ronald Chino hid the ball in his hair, shouted, ‘Look over there!’ and ran right the way up the pitch to throw the ball into the goal.

    But the biggest stroke of genius had to be when the England manager sent on the World Cup mascot – a two-metre-tall lion. Unfortunately this caused a bit of a fight between the England and Brazilian coaches. But as there are no rules, the managers can do what they like!

    Let’s return now to our commentators for the second half and see what … Oh, the players have started already and aren’t waiting for the whistle! In fact, they’re just running out of the tunnel towards the goal and every player has a football in his hands. Oh, and here come the wives and girlfriends too – and they’re all carrying footballs too. Er, quickly, over to John in the commentary box.

    Play a bit of the music again and then fade it out.
  2. Talk briefly about football and the fact that many people are ‘football mad’; but if you don’t have rules, you get mad football! Remind everyone that Brazil is one of the top teams in the world. Then introduce this story from Brazil.

    Jessica’s story
    Football is played all over the world, but the rules of the game are the same wherever you are – and they’re all important for the game to work.

    In Brazil, there’s a group of young people who also think rules are important – and not just for football. Passage House is special refuge run by a charity which helps young girls who have a difficult life at home or who live on the streets. The girls are looked after, receive medical care from doctors and dentists, and take part in classes, such as dance and drama, where they can talk about their problems.

    Passage House gives young girls the opportunity to turn their lives around. But, in return, there are rules to follow. These include going to school, no fighting, and respecting each other. If they don’t stick to the rules, they have to leave Passage House. It’s like being given a red card.

    Sixteen-year-old Jessica Lins Silva used to hang around on the streets and get into fights. But since spending time at Passage House, she says, ‘I’ve learnt all sorts of things – how to behave properly, how to talk properly, how to think and analyse things. Before, if someone criticized me, I’d just want to hit them. Now I’ve learnt acceptable behaviour. I’ve changed.’
  3. Point out that before she went to Passage House Jessica’s life had very few rules, which meant she found herself in some dangerous situations. And whether it’s at Passage House, on the football pitch, or at your school, rules exist so that we know what we can and cannot do, so we know how to act, and so that we stay safe.
  4. Ask the children what they think would happen if there were no rules, like in the football match described earlier. Can they think of examples of when rules have been broken, either in their experience or something they’ve seen on TV or in a sports game? What happened?

Time for reflection


Ask the children to think of a rule in sport, at home or at school that they have trouble keeping. What happens when this rule is broken?

Are all rules fair?

What should we do if we think a rule is unfair?


Dear God,
We thank you for the work at places like Passage House

and the rules they have to keep people safe.

Help us to keep the rules that keep us safe,

whether in sport, at home or at school,

and give us wisdom to know how to challenge rules that don’t seem fair.


Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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