A Brief History of Football
There is no clear evidence stating where and when football was actually invented, but most historians agree that some type of ball game had been played centuries before the modern game developed in England. Football has a long and interesting history and origins of the game are present in sports played thousands of years ago in China, Egypt, Japan and Greece. Aspects of the game can be traced as early as the second and third centuries BC in China. Their game, originally named ‘Tsu Chu’, involved kicking a leather ball into a small hole. The first football games played in Britain were in the 700s and the English equivalent of a football was made using an animal bladder. Games were violent and injury and death were common. Despite the violence, however, they were still very popular. The game had become so popular that in the 1300s Edward II banned the sport because people were playing football rather than practicing archery. This was especially important to this king, as he was preparing to go to war with Scotland. This was to be the first of many bans imposed by the kings and queens of England.
In 1605 football became legal and once again the
sport grew in popularity.
In the 1800s it became particularly common in private schools such as Eton, and it was only then that a set of rules was established. Until then, the game had continued to be violent, as it had had limited rules and no referees. Before the 1800s, for example, it was considered normal to hit players on the opposite team and to damage their possessions. In 1848, on Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, these rules were developed further and a new version called the
‘Cambridge Rules’ was used by all schools, colleges and universities.
Though football could be considered a male sport,
women also play it.
An increase in women playing the sport began during the First World War, when women did jobs traditionally done by men. Those working in places like factories regularly met to play. Unfortunately, a ban was imposed when the war ended, but it was eventually lifted in the UK in 1971. In 1991 China hosted the first Women’s World Cup and in 1996 the first ever women’s football event was held at the Olympics.
Before rules were established in the 1800s, which of these activities was considered normal?