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News: History of Football

How it started

19.11.2011 - Pinpointing the exact date that the first game of football was played is virtually impossible. Although it has been claimed by FIFA that the earliest organised matches were held in China in around 3 BC, it is likely that a game that involved kicking a spherical object has taken place for many thousands of years.
What we do know is that the biggest developments in the history of football took place from the 19th century onwards as the game began to gather momentum. In England, football was being played on a widespread basis in the public schools but the problem was that there was no uniform set of rules and regulations.

This caused problems at matches where two sides were used to playing to different laws of the game so in 1848, the Cambridge Rules were laid down at Cambridge University.

By this time, many of England`s historic football clubs had been formed and fifteen years later, the Football Association was founded in 1863. Many of the original teams still exist today including Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Notts County.

From this point, organised leagues slowly began to crop up in other parts of the world and this is where a major football development started to take place. Back in England, the next important landmark came in 1872 when the first ever FA Cup final was played.

The FA Cup has grown to become the biggest and most famous football competition ever but it rose slowly from those early days, when the first final was played at the Kennington Oval.

As the competition grew in stature so did the crowds who had outgrown venues such as the Oval and Stamford Bridge, which had held cup finals in the early 1920`s. As a result, Wembley Stadium was built and it opened its gates for the first time to welcome the players and fans from West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers for the 1923 FA Cup final.

By this time, football had become a truly global game and for the rest of the decade, leagues and cups were becoming established right across the world. As a result of this global growth, the first ever official World Cup tournament was held in Uruguay in 1930.

These days, the World Cup is a phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending the matches and millions more watching each game in the comfort of their own home.

Back in 1930 however, the world cup was a quiet tournament as many of the top nations declined to travel to South America. England were just one of the notable absentees and it wasn`t until 1950 before they joined other countries to make the event a truly worldwide affair.

The growth of the world cup just serves to mirror the incredible rise of football itself. From very humble beginnings the game has grown to become the world`s favourite sport. It is a multi-million pound industry too with an audience that runs into billions.

One of the best ways to get involved is to go to a game and soak up the incredible atmosphere. Whether you`re at your team`s own stadium or whether you`re visiting one of the many away grounds across the country, there`s no better time to enjoy football at its best.