Football (or football, as the game is called in some parts of the world) has a long history. Football in its present form originated in England in the mid-19th century. But alternative versions of the game were much earlier and are part of football history.
Early history and the precursors of football
The first known examples of a team game with a ball made from a rock took place over 3,000 years ago in ancient Mesoamerican cultures. According to the sources, the ball would symbolize the sun and the captain of the losing team would be sacrificed to the gods.
The first known ball game in which kicking took place took place in China in the 3rd and 2nd century BC. Chr. Under the name Cuju instead. Cuju was played with a round ball on a surface of a court. Later it spread to Japan and was practiced under ceremonial forms.
Other earlier variety of ball games started from ancient Greece. The ball was made with leather scraps filled with hair. The first documents of air-filled bullets date back to the 7th century. In ancient Rome, games with balls were not included in the entertainment on the big arenas, but could take place in exercises in the military. It was the Roman culture that was to bring football to the British Isles (Britannica). However, it is uncertain to what extent the British people were affected by this variability and how far it had developed its own variants.
The football game takes shape
The most-admitted story tells that the game was developed in England in the 12th century. In this century, games resembling football were played on grasslands and streets in England. In addition to kicks, the game also involves strokes of the ball with his fist. This early form of football was also much rougher and more violent than the modern style of play. An important feature of the precursors of football was that the games affected many people and took place over large areas in cities (one equivalent was played in Florence from the 16th century, where it was called Calcio). The rampage of these games would do damage to the city and sometimes cause death. This would be one of the reasons for the proclamations against the game, which was finally banned for several centuries. But the football-playing games would reappear in the streets of London in the 17th century. It would be prohibited winning in 1835, but by that time the game had been established in public schools.
However, it took a long time for the features of today’s football to be put into practice. For a long time, there was no clear distinction between football and rugby. There were also many variations in terms of the size of the ball, the number of players and the length of a game.
The game was often played in schools and two of the prevailing schools were Rugby and Eton. With rugby, the rules included the ability to pick up the ball with your hands and the game we now know as rugby has its origins from here. At Eton, on the other hand, the ball was played exclusively with the feet and this game can be seen as a close predecessor of modern football. The game in Rugby was called “the running game”, while the game in Eton was called “the dribbling game”.
An attempt to set appropriate rules for the game was made at a meeting in Cambridge in 1848, but a final resolution to some rules questions was not reached. Another major event in the history of football began in London in 1863 when the first football association was founded in England. It was decided that wearing the ball with his hands was not allowed. The meeting also led to a standardization of the size and weight of the ball. One consequence of the London meeting was that the game was divided into two codes: federation football and rugby.
However, the game would continue to evolve for a long time and there was still a lot of flexibility in terms of rules. First, the number of players on the court can vary. Also, no uniforms were used to distinguish the look of the teams. It was also common with players wearing caps – the header was not part of the game yet. Read more: The evolution of football rules.
Another important difference in this phase could be noticed between English and Scottish teams. While the English teams preferred to run the ball forward rather rugby-style, the Scots decided to hand over the ball between their players. It would be the Scottish approach that soon became prevalent.
The sport was initially a conversation for the British working class. Unprecedented viewer numbers, up to 30,000, would see big games at the end of the 19th century. The game would soon be expanded by British peoples who traveled to other parts of the world. Especially in South America and India, the interest in football would be great.
The first football clubs
Football clubs have been around since the 15th century, but disorganized and without official status. It is therefore difficult to decide which first football club it was. Some historians suspect that it was the Foot-Ball Club, which was founded in 1824 in Edinburgh. Former clubs were often founded by former students and the first of these was founded in Sheffield in 1855. The oldest among professional football clubs is the English club Notts County, which was founded in 1862 and still exists today.
An important step in creating teams was industrialization, which saw larger groups of people meeting in places like factories, pubs, and churches. Football teams were established in the larger cities, which could be transferred to other cities by the new railways.
In the beginning, football was dominated by public school teams, but later on teams made up of workers would make up the majority. Another change took place gradually, as some clubs were willing to pay the best players for their team. This would be the beginning of a long transitional period, not without friction, in which the game would develop to a professional level.
The motivation behind the paying players was not only to win more games, but in the 1880s, interest in the game has moved to a level where tickets for the games have been sold. And finally, professional football was legalized in 1885, and three years later the Football League was founded. During the first season, 12 clubs joined the league, but soon more clubs were interested and the competition would expand into other divisions.
For a long time, the British teams were dominant. After a few decades, clubs from Prague, Budapest and Sienna were the main contenders for British dominance.
As with many things in history, women have long been excluded from participating in games. Only at the end of the 19th century did women begin to play football.
The first competitions
Historical football game in picturesMore milestones should follow now. The Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) was the first major competition when it was held in 1871. The following year was played for the first time a game between two national teams. The game involving England and Scotland ended 0-0 and was followed by 4,000 people at Hamilton Crescent (the picture shows pictures of this occasion).
Twelve years later, in 1883, the first international tournament was held, involving four national teams: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Football was a British phenomenon for a long time, but gradually spread to other European countries. The first game, which took place outside of Europe, took place in Argentina in 1867, but it was foreign British workers who were involved and not Argentinian citizens.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 and a founding law was signed by representatives from France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. England and the other British countries did not join FIFA from the beginning, they had invented the game and saw no reason to submit to a federation. Nevertheless, they joined the following year, but only in 1950 participated in the World Cup.
In many countries there were national leagues, the first was the English Football League, which was founded in 1888. The leagues would grow over time with more divisions based on team performance.
In 1908, football was first included as official sport in the Olympic Games. Until the first World Cup in 1930, the Olympic Football Tournament was considered the most prestigious. The women’s football was added only in 1996.
As in many other sports, the white male was dominant for a long time. In football, black players began to be relatively early in presence and compared to example tennis is traditionally known as a sport with a mix of black and white players.
In the UK, Andrew Watson is the first black player and he played in the 1880s at the Scottish club Queen’s Park.
A game of passion
Lots of other sports show examples of passion to this extent like football. The arenas are populated by scissors; and in front of the TV look even more attentive and sometimes with great enthusiasm.
Already in the late 19th century, Goodison Park was built in England to host football matches. In 1894, the FA Cup Final between Notts County and Den Bolton Wanderers was attended by 37,000 spectators. A milestone in the football stadiums is the construction of the Maracané Stadium. In 1950, the imposing stadium in Rio de Janeiro was ready for nearly 200,000 people. No other sport has built stadiums of this capacity for hosting their games.
There were two different traditions of fan culture in the arenas: the British and the South American. The British fans took over the tradition of singing, the repertoire was inspired by, among other things, pub and work songs. The South Americans, on the other hand, would adopt the carnival style that includes firecrackers and firecrackers, as well as the modern phenomena of Bengali fire. Fans in other countries later adopted a mix of these traditions.
The big modern competitions
No other sporting event except the Olympic Games can compete with the FIFA World Cup today. The first edition of the Football World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930 and has since returned every four years (with two exceptions due to World War II). The first Women’s World Cup took place in China in 1991 and has since been back every fourth year.
The biggest global tournament for clubs today is the Champions League (played since 1992), the former European Cup (1955-1991).
Globalization of the biggest sport in the world
In the late 19th century, there were few football national teams; England and Scotland had the first active teams that played against each other in the 1870s. Today, there are 211 national associations that are members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the World Federation of Sports. Another proof of globalization was the increase in nations participating in World Cup qualifiers: from 32 in 1934 to over 200 in 2014.
The name of the game: football or soccer?
In most parts of the world, football is used as the name of the “green field chess”, the largest sport in the world. In the United States and Canada, however, football is used as a distinction from American football. A more formal name sometimes used is club football, but in popular language it is either football or soccer.