History of football


Football also known as association football or soccer has a long history. It is a competitive sport played by two teams of 11 players each who try to maneuver the ball into the other team’s goal without using arms and hands. The term soccer first appeared in the 1880s as a slang abbreviation of association football, credited to Charles Wreford-Brown. This is a sport that requires a great skill of athleticism and agility. It is the most popular sport all over the world. What is the origin of this game? When did it begin? How has it developed over the years?


The origin of football is way back second and third centuries BC in reference to a game played with the feet. Tsu-Chu is an ancient Chinese football game played by the Chinese military. It is the earliest known recorded game of football. Tsu means ‘to kick the ball with feet’ and the word Chu means ‘a stuffed ball made of leather’. It is a competitive game that involves kicking a ball through an opening into a net without the use of hands but the players can make use of their body in order to hold off their opponents.

About 500 years later, Japanese kamari came into place which resembles football. Players may use any body parts with the exception of arms and hands. The ball is made of deerskin and stuffed with barley grains to give it shape. The one who kicks the ball is called mariashi. Although, the game is not competitive, its aim is just to keep one ball in the air, with all players cooperating to do so.

However, modern football was originated in Britain in the 19th century. Britain happens to be the home of soccer. For a long time, there was no clear distinction between soccer and rugby. The game was often played in public schools (Rugby and Eton-the two predominant schools). At Rugby, the rules included the possibility to take up ball with the hands. The game rugby has its origin from here. At Eton on the other hand, the game was played exclusively with feet. This game can be seen as a predecessor to modern football.


The need for the development of official rules became clear into the 19th century as each school played with different rules. The first attempt to bring together a collection of rules was at a meeting in Cambridge in 1848. The Cambridge Rules of 1848 were the first known set of rules laid down officially around the game. The new rules, however, was not universally accepted, many clubs retained their own rules, especially in Sheffield. It took several meetings until it was decided that football was a game that exclusively should be played with feet (dribbling-kicking game) and not by hands (catch-and-run game), hence, the division of football and rugby. In 1857, Sheffield Football Club was created with rules a lot closer to what we know today as Rugby. In 1863, the Football Association (FA) was formed. Also, in 1871, the Rugby Football Union was formed. It was on April 1877 that a cohesive set of rules for football were finally agreed upon. Although, several changes have been made to the rules over the years. In 1891, penalty kick became part of rules while penalty shoot-out was introduced in 1970. In 1958, substitutes were introduced. In 1970, yellow and red cards were introduced into the game. The biggest change came in 2012 when goal-line technology was introduced. Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was introduced into the Laws of the Game by IFAB (International Football Association Board) in 2018.


The English Football League was founded on 17th April, 1988. The initiative was taken by William McGregor, a club director of Aston Villa. The first season began on 8th September, 1888 and ended 20 April,1889 with 12 member clubs; Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Nolts County, Preston North End, Stoke, West Brownwivh Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Each club played the other twice once at home and once away. The first season champion then was Preston North End. The league was expanded to second and third division. This expansion enabled the conditions for the introduction of promotion and relegation 1898 .i.e. clubs that top a division can move to a higher division while clubs that are at the bottom position will be relegated to a lower division. Premier League came into place in 1992 as the top tier of the English Football League system. The other top leagues are LaLiga (1929, Spain), Bundesliga (1962, Germany), Serie A (1898, Italy), Ligue 1 (1932, France) s


By 20th century, football had spread across Europe. The first international match took place in England on the 5th of March, 1870 in which England hosted Scotland. In 1904, the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) was formed in Paris. An Englishman Daniel Woolfall was the first FIFA president in 1906. Football made its official Olympic debut at London Games in 1908. The first FIFA World cup was held in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 1991, the first Women’s World Cup was played IN China. In 1954, the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) were established. UEFA organized the UEFA Champions League in 1955 and it is contested by top-division European clubs. Also, organized by UEFA in 1955 is the European Cup which is known as UEFA Europa League today. It is the second tier as Champions League is the first tier. Teams that do not qualify for Champions League and are next-in-line are eligible for UEFA Europa League competition, teams not eligible for UEFA Europa League will qualify for a new third-tier competition called the UEFA Europa Conference League. The winner of the Champions League qualifies for the following year’s Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Cup while the winner of the UEFA Europa League automatically qualifies for the next year’s Champions League.

Today, football is played at a professional level all over the world. According to the latest FIFA’s Professional Football Report, there were at least 3,903 professional clubs in existence. It has also been estimated that there are 250 million association football players in the world. Football has been developing over the years and will continue to develop.       


The game of football is the most played game in the world, uniting every nation. For something that is really important, the history should be known and taught all over the world.  

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The history of football takes us back to the second and third centuries BC in reference to a game called Tsu-Chu. Walter Chauncey Camp is the father of football

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