Football started in which county?

Football started in which country? (History of  Football)

Football is the greatest and one of the most enjoyed sports today. Out of curiosity, may be keen to find out which country Football started in.

Well, the history of football dates back to ancient times with a long and fascinating story that can be found in this article.

To start with, the country in which football properly started is, England in the middle of the 19th century. But alternative versions of the game existed much earlier and are part of football history. These early forms were played by Mesoamerican culture but not under the name of football.

It was also played in China, Japan, Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt under different forms and unorganized structures of play. During these times, the game was played as part of military training or a religious ritual.

The game of football came to light when two predominant schools, “Rugby” and “Eton,” played a game of ball that involved dribbling and running. At Rugby, the game was played by running forward with the ball, and it included the use of hands.

While Eton played the game exclusively by feet, and it involved passing the ball and dribbling in other to win a point. At the end of this game, the game of rugby was differentiated from the game of football. And that was how the game of football came to light.

codification of the rules of the game

The first attempt to create and implement proper rules for the game was done in 1848 at Cambridge. But the goal of this meeting wasn’t achieved.

In 1863, an event took place in London that led to the coming together of representatives from several schools and clubs for a meeting. This meeting birthed the current rules of the game, which included an organized game structure and the standardization of the weight and size of the ball.

The meeting also led to the formation of the Football Association (FA) in England by a London solicitor, Ebenezer Morley. The FA played an important role in establishing common rules of the game for its growth and promotion. Those rules are still in use today.

The global spread of football

Football was first played in schools for fun and then used as a source of entertainment for the British working class. Up to 30,000 spectators gathered to watch big matches. As colonization began to take place globally, British people travelled to other parts of the world, such as South America and India.

They travelled with the knowledge of football, and soon, interest in the game grew among other people. From England, the country where Football started from, the idea of football spread to Europe and across the Atlantic.

Football quickly gained popularity and various football associations were established in different countries.

emergence of teams

After the global spread of football, in 1885, professional football was legalized, and in 1888 Football League was formed.  

During the first season of the league, there was a total of 12 clubs in the league. As time passed, other clubs picked interest in the league and expanded into more divisions.

Although other clubs were in the league, the British dominance was very prominent for decades before other clubs from Prague, Budapest, and Sienna became primary contenders.

Women were initially excluded from the game of football for some historical reasons, but in the late 19th century, women started partaking in the game, and the first official women’s game took place in 1888.

Football continued to accelerate into the 1900s. In Germany, football was played at an amateur level until 1949, when semi-professional leagues were introduced.

The first professional division was the Bundesliga which started in 1963/64, with 46 clubs. But only 16 clubs were selected for the new league. The selection of clubs to partake in the league was based on their sporting track record, economic criteria, and how well they represented the sub-regional leagues.

In the United States, the term “football” was adopted for their activities. There was confusion between American Football and Association Football, which resulted in the use of the term “soccer.”

In 1967, two professional soccer leagues were established in the United States; United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League. Interest in soccer continued to grow in the United States, although major league soccer was duly launched in 1996.

first football competitions

The first match between two national teams was held in 1872. This was the match between England and Scotland, which had about 4,000 spectators at Hamilton Crescent.

The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Over a decade later, about 12 years later, to be precise, the first international tournament took place. This tournament involved four national teams; England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Most games took place around the British environs for a long while.

Although it gradually spread to other countries in the later years. The first game that took place outside Europe took place in Argentina in the year 1867, involving foreign British citizens.

other milestones in football history

Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as FA Cup became the first important competition when it was run in 1871.

Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904, and a foundation act was signed by representatives from France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. England and other British countries did not join FIFA at first. Their reason was that they invented the game and saw no reason to subordinate to an association. They joined in the later year but did not participate in the world cup until 1950.

In 1908, football was recognized officially in the Olympic Games. The first FIFA world cup was held in 1930.

Women’s football was added at the national level in 1996 but had long existed before then.

In the 1880s, Andrew Watson was recognized as the first black player. He played in the Scottish club Queen’s Park.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) League began in 1955. It is the body governing football in Europe. It determines the continental champion of Europe, and it is held every four years in even-numbered years between the world cup. The first edition of this league took place in 1960.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) determines the continental champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. It is staged every two years.

The Global Phenomenon

Football started in the 19th century with only a few national football teams. Today, there are 211 national associations, including the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body of football.

The global impact is also seen in the increase of nations that now participate in the world cup qualifiers, from 32 in 1934 to a rise of over 200 in 2014.

The world regions are divided into six confederations;

  • Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF)
  • Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
  • UEFA
  • Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
  • Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL).

Football has expanded over time, not just including women’s football but also youth development programs, football academies, and various international tournaments. The expansion of football only proves that the game is truly a global phenomenon.

Final Thought

All in all, the country where Football started is England. While various forms of the game existed earlier in different parts of the world, it was in England during the middle of the 19th century that football, as we know it today, began to take shape.

The codification of rules and the establishment of the Football Association (FA) played a significant role in shaping the game and promoting its growth. From there, football spread globally as British people travelled and shared their knowledge of the sport.

Today, football has become a global phenomenon, with numerous national associations and international tournaments showcasing its popularity and widespread appeal. Therefore, it is clear that football started in England and has since captured the hearts of millions worldwide.

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