This Ultra-Violent Ball Game Has Just One Rule: Don’t Kill Anyone

The town of Atherstone, England, held their 820th annual ball game, where players violently fight to be the last man holding a large ball. The game dates back to medieval times, and aside from holding onto the ball, the only other rule is “No killing.”


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The Pancake Day football tradition, which dates back to Medieval times, turned violent as punches were thrown at the annual fixture in Atherstone, Warwickshire.

Violent pictures and video captures players trying to gain possession of a blood-stained ball as the historic event gets underway.




Competitors grapple with each other in the heat of the battle. Men openly punch each other in the face. Later on bloodied fighters intimidate other competitors and openly rain blows on people.

Images from the start of the game show men climbing over each other to get in the best position.




The tradition takes place on Pancake Day to honour an historic match between Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 1199. The game sees players try to gain possession of the ball with the competitor that holds it at 5pm being declared the winner.

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