A Brief History of Football
We’ve all been struck by football fever with the 2022 World Cup now underway. But we thought we’d take a step back to understand the origins of the sport we love so dearly.
It goes all the way back to 9th century England when a game would be played on special occasions where neighbouring villages would battle to get a ball to a specified location. It was a no-holds-barred contest, and so rowdy and wild that King Henry IV actually banned it in the 15th century. Even so, this couldn’t prevent the spread of football across Europe.
A key moment in the development of the game came early in the 19th century when English public schools began promoting it as a form of exercise to keep students healthy. Around the same time, with workers’ rights in England improving, they would use their free time to play sports such as football.
It was only when more public schools adopted the game and football clubs emerged that the rules began to formalise. Early on, clubs would be associated with institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals or the military – such as Cambridge University AFC, which was formed in 1856. But soon, independent clubs such as the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC founded in 1857, appeared.
With so many clubs sprouting up all over England, there came a need to regulate and govern the game. So in 1863, the Football Association or FA was formed to fulfil this need and ensure that competitions across the country would follow the same set of rules and regulations. This codified version of the sport came to be known as “Association Football”. In fact, it was from the term “Association Football” that the word “soccer” was born, drawing from the ‘soc’ in the original term.
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As the British Empire spread far and wide, so did football. With the game catching on, football associations gradually started forming around the world culminating in the establishment of the world’s governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in 1903. Over the years, the rules of the game evolved – in 1866, a crossbar was added to the goal, goalkeepers were introduced in 1871, referees in 1881, penalties in 1891, substitutions in 1958 and, red and yellow cards in 1970.
In 1930, a Frenchman called Jules Rimet suggested a global football tournament called the World Cup where 13 teams travelled to Uruguay to participate with the home country winning the first edition at the Estadio Centenario. The age of stadiums and great spectacles had begun. The rise of television broadcasting in the 1950s would change the game forever. The 1970 World Cup in Mexico was the first live broadcast in colour remembered by many with Brazil’s legendary yellow, green and blue kit.
A defining moment in the evolution of football came in 1992 with the inception of the Premier League and its promise of lucrative TV broadcast rights. Another important development in 1992, was the introduction of the backpass rule that forbade goalkeepers from handling passes from their own teammates.
Since then, the sport’s fortunes have risen hugely from a humble inter-village kickabout in the English countryside to the world’s most loved game featuring larger than life stars like Messi and Ronaldo, multibillion dollar deals, and regular sporting spectacles like the ongoing World Cup in Qatar!
If you’d like your child to learn the game from the best football coaching academy in the city, call us on 9819337766 or 9819227766.