The Start Of Football

How Did Football Start And Gain Popularity?
The Start Of Football

The Start Of Football

Every corner of the world you go to, every big city, every little village, you'll sure to find a group of children kicking a football around. With millions, if not billions of fans all around the world, the love for football is universal, and it is the most popular sport ever, as of now.


Football History

But when did football start, and how did it amass such a wide fanbase?

It has quite a long history. The origins of the game can we traced back to ancient times. The earliest form of the game, as acknowledged by FIFA, can be located back to the Han Dynasty, in ancient China, where a primordial version of this game, known as cuju, or kickball, was trendy. Historians, who found evidence in military manuals claim that the Chinese used leather balls filled with feathers. The objective was to get this ball into nets made of silk and bamboo canes.

There is also evidence of a game similar to football being played in ancient Greece and Rome. This early form of the game was found to resemble rugby, rather than contemporary football, but is cited and acknowledged as an old, rudimentary form of football by scholars. The Romans had other games that involved passing balls around as well, and they brought these with them when they invaded the British Islands.

Although it is is unclear to what extent the Romans influences the development of football in England, they did develop their versions of it in the 12th century, that bore a closer resemblance to modern version we know today.

The Football

The game was played using an inflated pig's bladder. However, these early forms were much more unruly and chaotic. There were no restrictions on the number of participants, who would often break out into fights. But like most things with a little bit of organized violence, the masses loved it. It was so immensely popular, that, reportedly, in the 1300s, King Edward II became concerned that it would be a source of distraction for his soldiers when they were at war with Scotland. Over the years, it would be banned several times, but due to its popularity, it always managed to reemerge and thrive, especially amongst the lower classes. It spread to other parts of Europe, namely Italy, where it was called Calcio.

By the 18th century, a more modernized, regulated version had established itself in public schools. Back then, however, rugby and football were not two distinct games. Although a system existed, there were no standardized rules that governed the game as a whole.

At some public schools, the players were allowed to use their hands, at other schools, only feet were alleged. These differences led to the discussions being held in 1863, which lead to the creation of the Football Association. Rugby and football, from that year onwards, were seen as two distinct games with different rules and governing bodies. This marked the beginning of modern association day football.

Progress was made very quickly. Within a matter of a few years, more member clubs joined, and tournaments were held. In 1872, the first ever FA Cup was held, and a few years later, the first ever football league took place. Some matches even took place between English and Scottish teams.


Growth Of Football

As the years went by, mainly due to the influence that the British had overseas, football gained popularity in other countries. More countries, such as New Zealand and Argentina, formed their football associations and leagues. Fédération Internationale de Football Association or FIFA was established on 1904, with a number of member countries who would participate in international matches. They would go on the host the first ever World Cup in 1930. In 1908, football was officially included in the Olympics.

Football very quickly became a global phenomenon, and more led to the formations or more associations, such as Union des Associations Européennes de Football, Asian Football Confederation and The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football. Football, as a world phenomenon, only grew significantly as time passed. Today, it is the most popular sport ever.

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