Football is a sport that has been practiced in England for generations. Medieval or mob football was frequently played between cities and villages, with opposing teams colliding to convey an inflated pigs bladder from one end of town to the other.
Back in 1846, representatives of the University of Cambridge G. De Winton and John Charles Thring met with representatives of other private schools. Apparently, one of the prudish English people decided to measure how long this meeting would last, since it is historically known that it lasted 7 hours and 55 minutes. The result was the Cambridge Rules. This is the first attempt to unify football rules. And later, in 1862, John Tring published these rules under the title “The Simplest Game”. And here is their list taken from this site:
- A goal is considered scored when the ball has passed on target and under the crossbar, except when it is thrown into the goal by hand.
- The ball is allowed to be stopped by hands only in order to place it in front of you for a kick.
- Kicks must only be directed at the ball.
- It is forbidden to kick a flying ball.
- It is forbidden to put footboards, do undercuts and beat the opponent in the legs.
- When the ball is kicked out of the side flags, the kicker returns the ball to the game from the same place where the ball crossed the touchline, in a straight line towards the middle of the field.
- When the ball is kicked over the goal line, it is returned to the game by a player of the team through whose goal line the ball went.
- Players of the opposing team must be at least six paces away from the player kicking the ball into play from the touchline or goal line.
- A player is considered offside as soon as he is in front of the ball and must immediately take a position behind the ball. If his team is in possession of the ball, the player in an offside position may not touch the ball or move forward until someone from the other team has touched the ball or someone from his own team has knocked the ball in line with him or forward.
- If a player is in an offside position, he is prohibited from attacking an opponent. He can only launch an attack when he is out of the offside position.
What do you think is the oldest club in England? Chelsea? No. It was the members of the Sheffield Cricket Club who organized the first football club in the world.
The advanced Sheffield boys decided to play football by their own rules. Many pamphlets have been published on this subject. It is thanks to Sheffield that the joke about twenty-two men chasing one ball sounds exactly like that. If it wasn’t for Sheffield, the numbers could be different. For example, twenty-eight men or fifty-four.
On October 23, 1863, another enterprising gentleman named Ebenezer Cobb Morley gathered representatives of eleven football clubs in London at the Freemasons Tavern. So, under the beer, the oldest football association in the world was organized.
Already at the next meeting, held on December 1 of the same year, the FA decided on uniform football rules. The basis for them was the “Cambridge rules” and the Sheffield rules, i.e., without throwing the ball with the hands and hitting the opponents on the legs. Representatives of rugby were offended and left, slamming the door (and they also call themselves a male sport).
It took the FA ten years to spread its influence throughout England. One of the main factors in the popularization of football on the FA model was the first FA Cup (or Football Association Cup), held in the 1871-72 season. This wonderful idea flashed through the mind of Charles Alcock. And the first winner of the FA Cup was the amateur club Wanderers.
In 1992, the leading English clubs withdrew from the Football League, founding the Premier League. The main goal of creating the Premier League was to increase the income of the leading clubs. The Premier League has retained links to the Football League and at the end of each season the top three clubs in the Football League Championship leave the Premier League and are replaced by the top three clubs in the Football League Championship. There are 20 clubs in the Premier League. The current champions are Manchester City. Each club in the Premier League owns one-twentieth of the shares in the Premier League, which implies equality of rights and responsibilities of the participants in the championship.
As the oldest league in the world, the Football League is currently only second in the English football hierarchy after the 1992 separation of the top clubs. There are currently 72 clubs in the Football League that compete in three divisions: the Football League Championship, League One and League Two.
The top division for football club reserve teams was founded in 1999 under the name Reserve Premier League. It is divided into the Northern and Southern Reserve Premier Leagues, each with 10 teams.
The International Football Association, which was founded in 1886 following a conference in Manchester amongst The Football Association, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales, and the Irish Football Association, governs the game today. On November 30, 1872, Scotland and England played the first ever international football match. The match, which was played at the West of Scotland Cricket Club stadium in Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow, ended in a 0-0 tie in front of roughly 4,000 people.
Millions of people across the world now play the game, with billions more opting to watch it on television. However, the ‘beautiful game’ looks to be returning to its violent beginnings, as it did in 1969 when a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade devolved into rioting, and subsequently in May 1990 when a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade devolved into riots.