Farnarkling, originally invented by Alfred Nobel in 1886 and subsequently popularised by Max Gilles and BBC Radio 5, is a sport for two, three or sometimes four teams of eleven players, three of which must remain on the bench at all times. The World Farnarkling League controls the official ruleset, although many unofficial and "friendly" games are played in a more relaxed fashion and leave out many of the regulations on illegal drumping, passing while in Spoon, and offside and onside flanging. This article documents the 1999 Oslo Convention ruleset.
Idealistically, farnarkling is played with three (3) teams on an equilateral triangular field known as a "grommet" 75 metres on each side, with the goal (or "goal") in each corner. If only two (2) teams are currently available, then a "dummy third" is considered to be playing at all times, which play is required to start within their goal at each brush-off. If four (4) teams are available, the official rules allow for two alternative modes of play. One team, selected by rolling a four-sided dice, is to be considered "off" at the start and does not take the field. In "Crabbits Method", the game goes for four "thirds", not three, with teams cycling off and on again in order to play in every conceivable combination: 1,2,3; 1,3,4; 1,2,4; and 2,3,4 is the usual progression. In "Huff n' Puff", the captain of any team may run off the field and "tag" the "off" team's captain, who must then immediately go onto the field and play. Any points scored against the "outing" team (i.e. the team of the captain who went off to tag the other team's captain) are counted against the "tagged" team from the moment the tagged captain is tagged. While having more than one captain off the field chasing after the "off" captain is considered
"fucking stupid" "bad form" by some, others see it as strategically vital, whilst others still just think it mildly amusing.
The three teams start in the centre, or the two teams start in the "dummy third's goal", with the weegee (a soft ovoid weighing in at 750 grams and covered in bright purple fur for visibility and tactile pleasure) between the feet of the umpire. The umpire sounds the bullhorn to begin play and immediately jumps out of the way for fear of his life. Each team must then try to get the weegee into the other team's goal. The weegee can only progress by being held betwixt the feet — the actions of kicking or throwing the weegee down the field are illegal and are punished by a mid-edge throw-in. Cups are mandatory.