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The Football Association, also known as simply The FA, is the governing body of association football in Englandmarker and the Crown Dependencies of Jerseymarker, Guernseymarker and the Isle of Manmarker. It was formed in 1863, and is the oldest national football association. Based at Wembley Stadiummarker, Londonmarker, it is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the game of football in England, both professional and amateur.

The FA sanctions all competitive football matches in England, either directly (at a National Level), or indirectly (at a local level through County Football Associations). It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the annual FA Cup. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men's, women's and youth national football teams.

The FA is a founder member of both UEFA and FIFAmarker and is a member of the International Football Association Board, which is responsible for the laws of the game.


The Football Association is a member of UEFA and FIFAmarker and holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board (IFAB). As the first ever football association, it uniquely does not use the national name (i.e. English) in its title (compared to the Scottish Football Association, for example). It is headquartered at Wembley Stadiummarker, Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker having moved from offices at Soho Squaremarker in 2009.

All of England's professional football teams are members of the Football Association. The FA is responsible for the appointment of the management of the England men's and women's national teams and the organization of the FA Cup. Although it does not run the day-to-day operations of the country's top league, the Premier League, it has veto power over the appointment of the league Chairman and Chief Executive and over any changes to league rules. The Football League, England's second tier league, consisting of The Championship, League One and League Two, is self-governing.

Both the FA and the Football League have the power to restrict transfers and deduct points from clubs, most commonly for clubs going into administration or experiencing financial irregularities. However this is controversial as it is often the case that points are deducted from struggling clubs, worsening their financial situations and upsetting the fans of the clubs so penalized.

The game is controlled at the local level, by 43 County Football Associations affiliated to The Football Association but with responsibilities for organising and running football activities in their area. The Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man Football Associations are organised as County Football Associations below the FA. A hierarchy of leagues operates throughout the game, each taking responsibility for the administration of their own activities, such as membership, fixtures and registrations.

The FA owns and runs both Wembley Stadiummarker and the National Football Centre (The National Football Centre is currently under construction with a target for completion set for 2010).


For centuries before the first meeting of the Football Association in the Freemasons' Tavernmarker on Long Acre, Londonmarker on 26 October 1863, there were no universally accepted rules for playing football. In each public school the game was formalised according to local conditions; but when the schoolboys reached university, chaos ensued when the players used different rules, so members of Cambridge Universitymarker devised and published a set of Cambridge Rules in 1848 which was widely adopted. Another set of rules, the Sheffield Rules, was used by a number of clubs in the North of England from the 1850s.

Twelve London football clubs met in 1862 to agree common rules. The founding clubs present at the first meeting were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone (later to become Wanderers) , N.N. Club (Kilburnmarker), the original Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington Schoolmarker, Percival House , Surbiton and Blackheath Proprietary Schoolmarker; Charterhousemarker sent their captain, B.F. Hartshorne, but declined the offer to join. Many of these clubs are now defunct or play rugby union.

Central to the creation of the Football Association and modern football was Ebenezer Cobb Morley. He was a founding member of the Football Association in 1862. In 1863, as captain of the Mortlake-based club, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport that led to the first meeting at the Freemason's Tavern that created the FA. He was the FA's first secretary (1863-66) and its second president (1867-74) and drafted the Laws of football generally called the "London Rules" at his home in Barnes, Londonmarker. As a player, he played in the first ever match in 1863.

The first version of the rules for the modern game was drawn up over a series of six meetings held in the Freemasons' Tavern from October till December. At the final meeting, F. M. Campbell, the first FA treasurer and the Blackheath representative, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting, the first which allowed for the running with the ball in hand and the second, obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA but instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The term "soccer" dates back to this split to refer to football played under the "association" rules.

An inaugural game using the new FA rules was initially scheduled for Battersea Parkmarker on 2 January 1864, but enthusiastic members of the FA couldn't wait for the new year and an experimental game was played at Mortlake on 19 December 1863 between Morley's Barnes team and their neighbours Richmond (who were not members of the FA), ending in a goalless draw. The Richmond side were obviously unimpressed by the new rules in practice because they subsequently helped form the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The Battersea Park game was postponed for a week, and the first exhibition game using FA rules was played there on Saturday 9 January 1864. The members of the opposing teams for this game were chosen by the President of the FA (A. Pember) and the Secretary (E. C. Morley) and included many well-known footballers of the day.

After the first match according to the new FA rules a toast was given "Success to football, irrespective of class or creed"

The Football Association founded the FA Cup - now the longest-running major football competition in the world - in 1871. This competition was initially contested by mostly amateur teams but by the end of the 19th century it was dominated by professional teams that were mostly members of the Football League that had been founded in 1888 and expanded during the 1890s.

After many years of wrangling between the London Association and the Sheffield Football Association, the FA Cup brought the acceptance that one undisputed set of laws was required. The two associations had played 16 inter-association matches under differing rules; the Sheffield Rules, the London Rules and Mixed Rules. In April 1877, those laws were set with a number Sheffield Rules being incorporated.

In 1992, the Football Association took control of the newly-created Premier League which consisted of 22 clubs who had broken away from the First Division of the Football League. The Premier League reduced to 20 clubs in 1995 and is now one of the richest football leagues in the world.


The FA's main commercial asset is its ownership of the rights to England internationals and the FA Cup. Turnover for the year ending 31 December 2008 was £261.8 million. on which it made an operating profit of £16.6 million and loss before tax of 15.3 million. The loss was attributable to £39.6 million of interest payable and similar charges, principally relating to the cost of constructing the new Wembley Stadiummarker, opened in 2006, which the FA owns via its subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Limited. For the 4 seasons from 2008 to 2012, the FA has secured £425 million from ITV and Setanta for England and FA Cup games domestic television rights, a 42% increase over the previous contract, and £145 million for overseas television rights, up 272% on the £39 million received for the previous four-year period. However during 2008-09 Setanta UK went into administration, which weakened the FA's cashflow position.

The FA's income does not include the turnover of English football clubs, which are independent businesses. As well as running its own operations the FA chooses five charities each year to which it gives considerable financial support.


The FA also runs several competitions:


The FA has a figurehead President, since 1939 always a member of the British Royal Family. The Chairman of the FA has overall responsibility for policy. Traditionally this person rose through the ranks of the FA's committee structure (e.g. by holding posts such the chairmanship of a county football association). In 2008 the politician Lord Triesman was appointed as the FA's first "independent chairman", that is the first from outside the football hierarchy. The day to day head of the FA was known as the Secretary until 1989, when the job title was changed to Chief Executive.

Office Name Start yeartime End yeartime
President Arthur Pember 1863 1867
E. C. Morley 1867 1874
Major Sir Francis Marindin 1874 1890
Lord Kinnaird 1890 1923
Sir Charle Clegg 1923 1937
William Pickford 1937 1939
The Earl of Athlone 1939 1955
The Duke of Edinburgh 1955 1957
The Duke of Gloucester 1957 1963
The Earl of Harewood 1963 1971
The Duke of Kent 1971 2000
The Duke of York 2000 2006
Prince William May 2006
Chair Sir Charles Clegg 1890 1937
A. G. Hines 1938
M. Frowde 1939 1941
Sir Amos Brook Hirst 1941 1955
Arthur Drewry 1955 1961
Graham Doggart 1961 1963
Joe Mears 1963 1966
Sir Andrew Stephen 1967 1976
Professor Sir Harold Thompson 1976 1981
Sir Bert Millichip 1981 1996
Keith Wiseman 1996 1999
Geoff Thompson 1999 2008
Lord Triesman 2008
Secretary E. C. Morley 1863 1866
R. W. Willis 1866 1868
R. G. Graham 1868 1870
Charles Alcock 1870 1895
Sir Frederick Wall 1895 1934
Sir Stanley Rous 1934 1962
Sir Denis Follows 1962 1973
E. A. Croker 1973 1989
Chief executive Graham Kelly 1989 1998
Adam Crozier 2000 2002
Mark Palios 2003 2004
Brian Barwick 2005 2008
Kamil Waśkiewicz 2009
Executive Director David Davies 1998 2000
Acting Chief Executive 2002 2003
2004 2005

Board of directors

  • Chairman
Lord Triesman
  • Vice-Chairman & Kent FA
Barry Bright +
  • Chief Executive
Ian Watmore (from June 2009)
Dave Henson +
Phil Gartside ^
David Gill ^
  • Gloucestershire FA
Roger Burden +
Sir Dave Richards ^
  • Hampshire FA
John Ward +
David Sheepshanks %
Neil Doncaster %


+ = National Game Representative

^ = Premier League Representative

% = Football League Representative

See also



  • Green, Geoffrey (1954) The history of the Football Association, Naldrett Press
  • Butler, B. (1991) The official history of the Football Association, Queen Anne Press, ISBN 0-356-19145-1


  1. Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London, England), Saturday, 16 January 1864; pg. 3.New Readerships
  2. FA 2008 Report and Financial Statements]
  3. New Deals Sweet for FA,, 31 October 2007
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
  6. Evening News 24 - Doncaster takes on enforcer's role

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