commonly known as football or soccer, can be traced to traditional
games played formerly in Europe,
particularly medieval England
game of association football originates from the formation of the
The Football Association in
England in 1863 based on multiple efforts to standardise
the varying forms of the game.
This allowed clubs to play
each other without dispute and which specifically banned handling
of the ball during open field play (hence the division between
association football and rugby
). At the time, football
had played by their own, individual codes and game-day
rules had usually to be agreed upon before a match could commence.
For example, the Sheffield Rules
that applied to most matches played in the Sheffield area were a
The Football Association
The Cambridge rules
, first drawn up
at Cambridge University in 1848, were particularly influential in
the development of subsequent codes, including Association
football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College,
Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from
Eton, Harrow, Shrewsbury, Rugby, Winchester schools.
They were not universally adopted.
During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities
were formed throughout the English-speaking world
, to play
various forms of football. Some came up with their own distinct
codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield Football Club, formed by
former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of a
Sheffield FA in 1867.
During the early 1861s, there were increasing attempts in England
to unify and reconcile the various football games that were played
in the public schools as well in the industrial north under the
. In 1862, J. C.
who had been one of the driving forces behind the original Cambridge Rules, was a master at Uppingham
School and he issued his own rules of what he called
"The Simplest Game" (aka
the Uppingham Rules). In early October 1863, a revised version of
the Cambridge Rules was drawn up by a seven member committee
representing former pupils of Eton, Harrow, Shrewsbury, Rugby, Marlborough and Westminster.
Ebenezer Cobb Morley, a solicitor from
Hull, wrote to Bell's
Life newspaper in 1863, proposing
a governing body for football. Morley was to become
the FA's first secretary (1863-6) and its second president
(1867-74), but is particularly remembered as it was he who drafted
the first Laws of the Game at his
home in Barnes, London,
that are today played the world over.
For this, he is
considered not just the father of the Football Association
, but of
evening of 26 October 1863, representatives of several football
clubs in the Greater London area met at the Freemasons'
Tavern on Long Acre in Covent Garden.
This was the first meeting of The Football Association
was the world's
official football body and for this reason is not
preceded with the word English. Charterhouse was the only school which accepted invitations to
The first meeting resulted in the issuing of a
request for representatives of the public schools to join the
association. With the exception of Thring at Uppingham, most
schools declined. In total, six meetings of the FA were held
between October and December 1863. Committee member J. F. Alcock,
said: "The Cambridge Rules appear to be the most desirable for the
Association to adopt."
After the third meeting, a draft set of rules were published by the
FA. However, at the beginning of the fourth meeting, attention was
drawn to the recently-published Cambridge Rules of 1863. The
Cambridge rules differed from the draft FA rules in two significant
areas; namely running with (carrying) the ball
(kicking opposing players in the shins). The two
contentious FA rules were as follows:
At the fifth meeting a motion was proposed that these two rules be
removed from the FA rules. Most of the delegates supported this
suggestion but F. W. Campbell, the representative from Blackheath
and the first FA treasurer,
objected strongly. He said, "hacking is the true football". The
motion was carried nonetheless and — at the final meeting —
Campbell withdrew his club from the FA. After the final meeting on
8 December the FA published the "Laws
", the first comprehensive set of rules for the game
later known as association
. The game also came to be called "soccer" as a
shortening of "Association" around the same time as Rugby football,
colloquially referred to as "rugger", was developing as the main
carrying of the ball version of English football, and "soccer"
remains a common descriptor in countries with other prominent
football codes today.
These first FA rules still contained elements that are no longer
part of football, but which are still recognisable in other games
, Australian rules football
instance, a player could make a fair catch and claim a mark
, which entitled him to a free kick,
and; if a player touched the ball behind the opponents' goal line,
his side was entitled to a free kick
at goal, from 15
yards in front of the goal line.
The laws of the game
agreed on by
the FA members stipulated a maximum length and breadth for the
pitch, the procedure for kicking off, and definition of terms,
including goal, throw in, offside. Passing the ball by hand was
still permitted provided the ball was caught "fairly or on the
". Despite the specifications of footwear having
no "tough nails, iron plates and gutta percha
" there were
no specific rule on number of players, penalties, foul play or the
shape of the ball, captains of the participating teams were
expected to agree on these things prior to the match.
Foundations of a competition
The laws laid down by the FA had an immediate effect, with
Sheffield and Nottingham (now Notts
) playing an annual fixture on the FA code among others.
Over the next two years Chesterfield and Stoke joined the code,
which meant that the codified form was no longer an exclusive sport
of public schools. By this time teams had settled into 11 players
each, and the game was played with round balls. It previously
stated that all players in front of the ball were offside,
eliminating passing of the ball forwards, much like in rugby today.
The rule was relaxed. A Sheffield against London game in 1866 had
allowed the FA to observe how the rules were affecting the game;
subsequently handling of the ball was abolished except for one
player on each team, the goalkeeper
red tape was added between the two goalposts to indicate the top of
the goal, and a national competition was proposed. 1867 saw the
introduction of the first competition and oldest existing trophy in
soccer, the Youdan Cup
First FA Cup
The Royal Engineers team that reached
the first FA Cup final
On 20 July 1871, C. W. Alcock, a
gentleman from Sunderland and a former pupil of Harrow School proposed that "a Challenge Cup should be
established in connection with the [Football] Association",
the idea that gave birth to the competition.
At the first
in 1872, Wanderers
and Royal Engineers
met in the final in front of
2,000 paying spectators. Despite the Royal Engineers being the
heavy favourites, one of their players sustained a broken collar
bone early on and since substitutions had not yet been introduced,
the Engineers played a man down for the rest of the match which
they eventually lost 1-0.
The FA Cup was a success and within a few years all of the clubs in
England wanted to take part. To do so they had to accept the FA
code, which led to the quick spread of a universal set of rules.
These rules are the basis of which all association football rules
today stem from.
competitions saw the 'Gentleman' or Southerners dominate with
Etonians, Wanderers, Royal Engineers and Oxford University
who amongst them took 19 titles. Queens Park
withdrew in the semi-finals of
the 1873 cup (which due to the format being played that year meant
that all the challengers to Wanderers' trophy played a competition
for the right to throw down the gauntlet and play the holders,
hence the full name FA Challenge Cup) because they had trouble
raising travel expenses to pay for the constant trips to England,
this directly led to the formation of the Scottish FA
. However despite this, Queens Park
continued to participate in the FA Cup, reaching the final twice,
before the Scottish FA banned Scottish clubs from entering in
In 1872, Alcock purchased the Football Association Cup for £20.
That year, fifteen clubs entered the competition. Queen's Park
reached the semi finals without playing due to withdrawals, but
then after a goalless draw with Wanderers, were forced to withdraw
as before the advent of penalties
, they could not afford to come
back to London for the replay. Wanderers won the cup outright in
1878 after what remains to this day one of only two hat tricks of
wins ever. However they returned the cup to the FA in order for the
competition to continue, on the condition that no other club could
win the cup outright ever again.
William McGregor a gentleman from
Perthshire and a director of Aston
Villa F.C was the main force between meetings held in London
and Manchester involving 12 football clubs, with an eye to a
These 12 clubs would later become the
's 12 founder
members. The meetings were held in London on 22 March 1888, the
main concern was that an early exit in the knockout format of the
FA cup could leave clubs with no matches for almost a year, not
only could they suffer heavy financial losses, but fans didn't
often stick around for that long without a game, when other teams
were playing. Matters were finalised on the 17 April in
McGregor had voted against the name The Football League, as he was
concerned that it would be associated with the Irish Land League
. But this name still won
by a majority vote and was selected. The competition guaranteed
fixtures and members for all of its member clubs. The clubs were
split equally among North and Midlands teams and Southern teams,
who were still strictly amateur.
A rival English league called the Football Alliance
operated from 1889 to
1892. In 1892 it was decided to formally merge the two leagues, and
so the Football League
was formed, consisting mostly of Football
Alliance clubs. The existing League clubs, plus three of the
strongest Alliance clubs, comprised the Football League First
See also: England v
Scotland England v
Scotland England v
The first international game was played in England. England, 30 November 1872. Charles Alcock, who was elected to secretary of the FA at the age of 28, devised the idea of an international competition, inaugurating an annual Scotland-England fixture. In 1870 and 1871 he placed advertisements in Edinburgh and Glasgow newspapers, requesting players for an international between the two countries. The only response that he received stated: "devotees of the "association" rules will find no foemen worthy of their steel in Scotland" For this reason the 1870 matches and 1871 matches were composed entirely of Scots living in England. Notably, however, Smith of the Queen's Park football club took part in most of the 1870 and 1871 international matches. As early as 1870, Alcock was adamant that these matches were open to every Scotsman [Alcock's italics] whether his lines were cast North or South of the Tweed and that if in the face of the invitations publicly given through the columns of leading journals of Scotland the representative eleven consisted chiefly of Anglo-Scotians ... the fault lies on the heads of the players of the north, not on the management who sought the services of all alike impartially. To call the team London Scotchmen contributes nothing. The match was, as announced, to all intents and purposes between England and Scotland".
In 1872 the challenge was eventually taken up by Queens Park FC.
international currently recognised as official by FIFA (which took
place on the 30 November 1872, Glasgow, Scotland) ended in a goalless draw between the two
sides and thus, one of the most bitterly disputed fixtures in
footballing history was born.
The 2nd game between the two
sides, on the 8 March1873, ended 4-2 in favour of England, the
Scots then went on to win the next game 2-1. The fourth game ended
in a 2-2 draw after which the Scots enjoyed a 3 game winning streak
(every recorded result between these two sides can be found using
the official FIFA
Current head to head statistics between the two
sides stand as...
The first non-European international was contested on the 28
November 1885, at Newark, New Jersey, between the USA and Canada,
the Canadians winning 1-0.
From amateurism to professionalism
When football was gaining popularity during the 1870s and 1880s
professionals were banned in England and Scotland. Then in the
1880s, soon after Wanderers disbanded, in the north of England,
teams started hiring players known as 'professors of football', who
were often professionals from Scotland. This was the first time
professionalism got into football. The clubs in working class
areas, especially in Northern England
and Scotland wanted
professional football in order to afford playing football besides
working. Several clubs were accused of employing
The northern clubs made of lower class paid players started to gain
momentum over the amateur 'Gentleman Southerners'. The first northern
club to reach the FA Cup final was Blackburn Rovers in 1882, where they lost to Old Etonians, who were
the last amateur team to win the trophy.
During the summer of 1885, there was pressure put on the Football Association
professionalism in English football, culminating in a special
meeting on 20 July, after which it was announced that it was
"in the interests of Association Football, to legalise the
employment of professional football players, but only under certain
". Clubs were allowed to pay players provided that
they had either been born or had lived for two years within a
six-mile radius of the ground. There were also rules preventing
professional players playing for more than one club in a season,
without obtaining special permission, and all professional players
had to be registered with the F.A.
Early English women's teams, such as the Dick, Kerr's Ladies
from Preston, were
so popular that their matches raised money for charities. The first
recorded women's football match, on 23 March 1895, was held in
England between a northern and southern team. The fundraising
matches continued, in spite of objections. A maximum wage was
placed on players, players challenged this and came close to
in 1909, but it was not
to be for another fifty years before the maximum wage was
abolished. In 1921, women were banned from playing on FA league
grounds. FA history states that this ban "effectively destroyed the
game" in England for the next 40 years. Hakoah Vienna
was probably the first
non-British club to pay their players during the 1920s .
In 1934 the Swedish club Malmö FF
relegated from the top division after it had been discovered that
they paid their players, something that was not allowed in Swedish
football at the time.
Between 1915 and 1919 competitive football was suspended in
England. Many footballers signed up to fight in the war and as a
result many teams were depleted, and fielded guest players instead.
The Football League
and FA Cup
were suspended and in their place regional
league competitions were set up; appearances in these tournaments
do not count in players' official records.
Football spreads around the world
oldest club in continental Europe could be the Swiss club Lausanne Football and Cricket
Club, founded 1860.
was introduced in the Danish club, Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB) by
English residents, and in the Swiss club
FC St. Gallen in 1879.
makes KB and St. Gallen the oldest still existing football clubs on
. The Danish Football Association
founded in 1889. Italian football
in regional groups from its foundation in 1898 until 1929 when the
was organised into a national league
by the Italian Football
. La Liga
, Spain's national
league, had its first season in 1928, with its participants based
on the previous winners of the Copa del
, which began in 1902. The modern German national league,
was late in
foundation, especially for European countries, given it wasn't
founded until 1963. The German Football Association
founded as early as 1900 with the first German football champions
Leipzig in 1903. However, prior to the formation of the Bundesliga
, German football
was played at an amateur
level in a large number of regional leagues.
recorded football match in Argentina was played already in 1867 by British railway
The first football team in South America, Gimnasia y Esgrima de La
(now in professionalism) was created in Argentina, in
Argentine professional leagues (previously, football was an amateur
sport) were founded in 1931 by the Argentine
Football Association, which itself was founded by a Scottish
schoolteacher Alexander Watson
Hutton in 1893. The first ever championship to take place in
Argentina was the AAF Championship of 1891 making Argentina's the
oldest football league outside mainland Britain.
1870s an expatriate named John Miller who worked on the railway
construction project in São Paulo together with some 3000 other immigrant families
from the British Isles in the last decades of the 19th century,
decided to send his young boy Charles William Miller to England for
his education. In 1884 Charles aged 10 was sent to
Bannisters school in Southampton.
Charles was a natural footballer who
quickly picked up the arts of the game. The football association
was being formed at the time. Eton, Rugby, Charterhouse and other
colleges all had developed their own rules to the game. As an
accomplished winger and striker Charles held school honours that
were to gain him entry first into the Southampton Club team and
then into the County team of Hampshire.
In 1892 a couple of years before his return to Brazil, Miller was
invited to play a game for the
, a team formed of players invited from public
schools and universities.
On his return Miller brought some football equipment and a rules
book with him. He then went on to develop the new rules of the game
amongst the community in São Paulo. In 1888, six years before his
return, the first sports club was founded in the city, São Paulo Athletic Club
Paulo Athletic Club won the first three years championships.
Miller's skills were far and above his colleagues at this stage. He
was given the honour of contributing his name to a move involving a
deft flick of the ball with the heel "Chaleira".
Charles Miller kept a strong bond with English football throughout
his life. Teams from Southampton and Corinthians Club came over to
Brazil and played against São Paulo Athletic Club and other teams
in São Paulo. One on occasion in 1910 a new local team was about to
be formed after a tour of the Corinthians team to Brazil and
Charles was asked to suggest a name for the team. He suggested they
should call themselves after Corinthians.
In 1988 when São Paulo Athletic Club celebrated its centenary and
the English Corinthians Team came across again to play them at
Morumbi Stadium. The end of the tour was against the local
professional Corinthians Paulista team with Sócrates
amongst its players. This game was played at Paecambu Stadium in
São Paulo and true to Corinthian principles of good clean football
the score was 1 to 0 in favour of the locals when as agreed
Socrates changed shirts to play alongside the English amateurs.
This did not affect the score unfortunately although a largely
packed stadium was cheering on for a drawn result.
The Brazilian Football
was founded in 1914, and the current format for
was established in 1971.
football club in the United States was the Oneida Football Club of Boston,
Massachusetts, founded in 1862. It is often said that
this was the first club to play football outside Britain.
However, the Oneidas were formed before the
(FA); it is not known what rules they used and the
club wound up within the space of a few years. According to
, the club is often credited with inventing the
", which both allowed
players to kick a round ball along the ground, and to pick it up
and run with it.
U.S. match known to have been inspired by FA rules was a game
between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869, although the game included features such
as extremely physical tackling and teams of 20 each.
colleges emulated this development, but all of these were converted
to rugby-oriented rules from soccer-oriented rules by the mid-1870s
on, and they would soon become famous as early bastions of American football
. (For more details see:
History of American
college football season
Early football leagues in the U.S. mostly used the name football
leagues: for example, the American Football Association
(founded in 1884), the American Amateur Football
(1893), the American League of
(1894), the National Association Foot
(1895), and the Southern New England
(1914). However, the word "soccer" was
beginning to catch on, and the St
Louis Soccer League
was a significant regional competition
between 1907 and 1939. What is now the United States Soccer
was originally the U.S. Football Association, formed
in 1913 by the merger of the American Football Association and the
American Amateur Football Association. The governing body of the
sport in the U.S. did not have the word soccer in its name until
1945, when it became the U.S. Soccer Football Association. It did
not drop the word football from its name until 1974, when it became
the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Two further football leagues were started in the 1967, the United Soccer Association
Professional Soccer League
. These merged to form the North American Soccer League
1968, which survived until 1984. The NASL
also ran an indoor league
in the later years.
was a great success in
the 1980s to the 90's, in part due to the input of the North American Soccer League
When the NASL
other leagues, including the Major
Indoor Soccer League
filled in to meet the demand. A new
today with eight teams slated for the 2007-2008 season. However, it
is unrelated to the original MISL.
The highest level of football in the United States is Major League Soccer
The need for a single body to oversee the worldwide game became
apparent at the beginning of the 20th century with the increasing
popularity of international fixtures. The English Football Association
many discussions on setting up an international body, but was
perceived as making no progress. It fell to seven other European
countries to band together to form this association. FIFA
(Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was founded in
Paris on 21 May 1904 - the French name and acronym persist to this
day, even outside French-speaking countries. Its first president
was Robert Guérin
FIFA presided over its first international competition in 1906,
however it met with little approval or success. This, in
combination with economic factors, led to the swift replacement of
Guérin with Daniel Burley
from England, by now a member association. The next
tournament staged the football competition for the 1908 Olympics in London
was more successful, despite the presence of professional
footballers, contrary to the founding principles of FIFA.
Membership of FIFA expanded beyond Europe
with the application of South Africa in 1909,
Argentina in 1912 and the United States in
FIFA however floundered during World War
with many players sent off to war and the possibility of
travel for international fixtures severely limited. Post-war,
following the death of Woolfall, the organisation fell into the
hands of Alexander Bartholomew
. The organisation had a new leader though after Bartholomew's
death in 1919. It was saved from extinction, but at the cost of the
withdrawal of the Home Nations
cited an unwillingness to participate in international competitions
with their recent World War enemies.
In 1946 the four British nations returned. On 10 May 1947 a
'Match of the Century' between Great Britain and 'Rest of Europe
XI' was played at Hampden
Park in Glasgow before 135,000 spectators - Britain won 6-1.
The proceeds from the match, coming to £35,000, were given to FIFA,
to help re-launch it after World War Two. This was followed by
FIFA's first post-war World Cup in
1950, held in Brazil.
FIFA, meanwhile, continued to expand so that by the time of its
fiftieth anniversary it had 84 members.
FIFA Men's World Cup
first football world cup was
played in Uruguay in 1930.
In the first championship match
between Argentina and Uruguay, both teams couldn't decide on a ball
so they used Argentina's ball the first half and Uruguay's in the
second. Many countries did not enter, with most of them coming from
the Americas. By 1950 however, European teams took interest, and
the competition blossomed into the world's biggest footballing
event. From this, other championships emerged - the AFC Asian Cup
(since 1956), the African Cup of Nations
(since 1960), North America's Gold Cup
(since 1991) and Oceania's
OFC Nations Cup
(since 1996). These
championships, along with the South American Copa América
, which was first contested in
1916 and precedes the World Cup
the main competitions of each continent.The Brazilian team, known
as "Seleção", is the biggest title holder in the World Cup, having
won five times. The runner-up is Italy, with four titles, having
won the latest edition in 2006.
FIFA Women's World Cup
The FIFA Women's World Cup
was inaugurated with the FIFA Women's World Cup 1991
hosted in China, with 12 teams sent to represent their
countries.Over 90,185 spectators attended the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
and nearly 1
billion viewers from 70 countries tuned in. By the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003
teams competed in the championship finals. Of the four tournaments
held to date (2006), the USA has won the championship twice, Norway
once and Germany most recently. Women's confederations are the same
as men's: Oceania (OFC), European (UEFA), North, Central America
and Caribbean (CONCACAF), South American (CONMEBOL), Asian (AFC)
and African (CAF).