Everything you need to know about football history


Football has a complicated history, but what do you truly need to know about one of the world’s most popular sports? We’ve outlined some of the most important facts in football’s history so that you can see how the sport has progressed over time.


Football’s beginnings may be separated into two categories: recent history and ancient history.


Football’s modern history began in England in 1863, more than a century ago. Rugby football and club football, which were formerly synonymous, split up, and the Football Association, the sport’s first recognised regulating body, was established.


People have been kicking a ball for thousands of years, according to history texts, but not all of these activities are identifiable as what we call football today. However, the many periods of football, or sports that featured kicking a ball in more exact terms, were all critical to the game’s growth. We may never have had football according to present standards if not for the variance that has occurred over time.
The longest ridge in the history of football may be traced to China, where a game comparable to football is recorded in military manuals as early as the third century BC. Tsu ‘Chu was a Han dynasty game that involved kicking a ball through a 30-40 cm opening and into what we would now call a goal of sticks with a net attached. These games were played with a leather ball that was stuffed with hair and feathers.

The Greeks devised “Harpastum,” a game that utilised a smaller ball than football but followed the same principles as the contemporary game. The purpose of the game was for a team to get the ball beyond the opponent’s boundary line, which was marked with boundaries and a centre line.

We can plainly see what impact different cultures and variants have had on the game we play now based on what we know about the history of the ball game where the use of feet prevails.

Football and the United Kingdom

According to records, the mayor of London prohibited London football in the city in 1314 because it was causing “chaos.” You may face jail time if you were discovered playing the game in London. This was worked out during the 100-year battle between England and France, when Kings Edward II, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V made the game banned throughout the United Kingdom because it “drew attention away from the more useful exercise of military discipline.”

Football thrived in Britain from the eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries, despite opposition, but a standardised version of the game was still rare, with regional varieties typically benefiting. These many variants of the game evolved into club football, rugby football, and Gaelic football, all of which contributed to the current version of the game that we play today.

The best iteration of today’s Sunday leagues is village vs village games, in which villages assembled and their teams competed against each other, usually on unmarked grounds.


Although the Football Association established the official regulations of modern football in 1863, the specifications of the ball were not standardised for another eight years. Until then, the players would agree on which ball they would use with one another.


In football, a 90-minute game is considered conventional. When London and Sheffield played against one other in 1866, this duration was set. For whatever reason, 90 minutes has been established as the usual length for football matches. The 90-minute format is no longer used in minor league games.


Playing football in schools did not become common until the early nineteenth century, when it was introduced into public schools. Despite the fact that the rules were mostly the same as the standard, several schools devised their own variations of the game based on the resources they had. For instance, if a school only had one concrete playground, as many schools have, they would have to make do with what they had and change the boundaries accordingly.
The football association had 50 member clubs eight years after it was founded. In 1872, the FA Cup was established, with the first championship following in 1888. By this time, Europe had yet to adopt the modern version of football, which contributed to its status as a “particularly British sport.” However, prior to 1872, the first “international” football match between England and Scotland drew large audiences, similar to today’s games.

Football took a long time to spread outside of the United Kingdom, but it soon spread to every corner of the globe. In 1889, the Netherlands and Denmark became the first countries to establish their own football clubs, followed by New Zealand in 1891, Argentina in 1893, Chile, Switzerland, and Belgium in 1895. The following country to form an organisation was Italy, which did so in 1898. In 1900, Germany and Uruguay were in second and third place, respectively. Hungary and Finland would form associations in the next decade.

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