Football is an outdoor game played using a football between the two opposing teams (having 11 players in each) by kicking the ball with foot in order to score goals.
Essay on Football
We have provided below various short and long essay on football game under various words limit in order to help students. Now-a-days, essays or paragraphs writing are common strategy in the schools and colleges followed by the teachers to enhance student’s writing skill and knowledge about any topic. All the football essay provided below are written using easy words and simple sentences. So, students can select any of the essays given below according to their need and requirement:
Football Essay 1 (100 words)
Football is a game played outdoor by the two teams. Each of the football team contains eleven players means total players in football match become 22. This game aims to make maximum goals by each team. The team with maximum goals is called as the winner team the one with less goals become loser. It is a game which played by kicking a ball with foot. This game is also called as soccer in some countries. There are various forms of the football such as association football (in UK), gridiron football, American football or Canadian football (in US and Canada), Australian rules football or rugby league (in Australia), Gaelic football (in Ireland), rugby football (in New Zealand), etc. Various forms of football are known as football codes.
Football Essay 2 (150 words)
Football is an outdoor game played by two teams having eleven players in each. This game is also known as soccer and played with a spherical ball. It has been estimated that it is played by around 250 million players over 150 countries which makes it a most popular game of the world. It is played on a rectangular field having a goal-post at each end. It is a competitive game generally played to win the game by any team or for entertainment and enjoyment. It provides physical benefits to the players in many ways as it is a best exercise. It is a most exciting and challenging game generally liked by everyone especially kids and children.
It is a team sport played between two teams aiming to score more goals by each team than other team by putting the ball in opposite goal-post. A team becomes the winner which scores maximum goals at the end of match.
Football Essay 3 (200 words)
Football is a most popular game of the world even in the modern time. It is a most exciting and challenging game generally played by two teams for the entertainment and enjoyment of the youths. It is also played on competition basis to win the prize in front of judges. Originally, it was played by the villagers (called as Rugby in Italy). According to some experts, it is said that it has its origin in China. It is played by two teams (eleven members in each) aiming to get maximum goals by each other. International contests of this game are played in the duration of 90 minutes (divided in two parts of 45 minutes each. Players take some break (not more than 15 minutes) between two halves of the game. This game is assisted by a referee and two linesmen (conducting the game).
Benefits of Playing Football
Playing football sport is a good physical exercise. It also provides various other benefits to the kids, children and youths including other age group people. It is generally played in the schools and colleges for the health benefits of the students. It helps in improving the student’s skill, concentration level and memory power. This is a game which makes a person physically, mentally and socially healthy and well being. It is a great source of entertainment which refreshes mind and body. It helps a person to tackle all the common problems of daily life.
Football Essay 4 (250 words)
Football is one of the most entertaining games of the world. It is played by the youths in various countries with full interest. It has two big aspects, one is health and other is financial. It makes a person physically, mentally and financially strong as this game has lots of health benefits with a nice career. Earlier, it was played in the western countries however, later it spread to all over the world. Football is a round shape rubber bladder (made inside with leather) tightly filled with air.
It is played by two teams having eleven players in each. It is played in a rectangular field of 110 meter long and 75 meter broad, properly marked with lines. Each team aims to make maximum goals by putting the ball in the opposite goal-post at the back end of each team. There is a goal-keeper, two half-backs, four backs, one left out, one right out, and two centre-forwards in the field for each team. It has some important rules which must be followed by each player while playing the game. It is started to be played from the centre and no one player is allowed to touch the ball with hands except the goal-keeper.
Importance of Football Game in India
Football is an outdoor game considered to be beneficial for both, players and spectators. It is a game of much importance in the India especially in Bengal. Crazy football players do all the efforts to win the football match. Strong will of the watchers and players of this game motivate them a lot to achieve the success in life. It makes people more enthusiastic and interested to play and watch the game. A football match attracts a huge crowd of eager and curious spectators from the nearby regions. It is a team game which teaches team spirit to all the players.
It is 90 minutes long game played with a little break in two parts of 45 minutes. It is a game which makes players physically, mentally, socially, intellectually and financially healthy and strong. This game has nice financial career so any student (much interested) can make his/her bright career in this field. Playing this game regularly keeps one healthy and fit all time.
Football Essay 5 (300 words)
Football game is very useful to all of us if played regularly. It benefits us in many ways. It is an interesting outdoor game played by two teams having 11 players in each. It is a game of good physical exercise which teaches players about harmony, discipline and sportsmanship. It is a popular game all over the world and played for years in various cities and towns of many countries.
Origin of Football Game
Historically, the football game has been 700-800 years old however became the world’s favorite game for more than 100 years. It was brought to the Britain by the Romans. It was first started playing in England in 1863. Football Association was formed in England as the first governing body to govern this sport. Earlier, people were playing it simply by kicking the ball with their foot which later became an interesting game. Slowly, this game got much popularity and started to be played with rules on a rectangular field which marked by the boundary lines and a centre line. It is not an expensive and also called as soccer. The Laws of this game were originally arranged in a systematic code by the Football Association, England in 1863 which is governed internationally by the FIFA. It organizes the FIFA World Cup after every four years.
Rules of Playing Football
Rules of playing the football game are officially called as Laws of the Game. There are almost 17 rules of playing this game under two teams:
- It is played in a rectangular field with two long sides (touch lines) and two shorter sides (goal lines). It is played in a field divided by halfway line.
- Football must be round in shape (made of leather) with 68-70 cm in circumference and filled with air.
- It has two teams of 11 players in each. Once cannot start this game if any team has less than 7 players.
- There should be a referee and 2 assistant referees to ensure the Laws of game. Assistant Referees.
- This game is of 90 minutes duration with 2 halves of 45 minutes each. Interval should not exceed more than 15 minutes.
- A ball becomes in play all time however becomes out of play whenever a team has scored a goal or referee has stopped the game.
- There is a goal kick to restart the play after a goal is scored.
Football is a most popular game all over the world. It is an inexpensive game, played in almost all the countries with much interest. Players, who practice it regularly, get benefited in many ways. It provides lots of benefits to the physical and mental health.
Football Essay 6 (400 words)
Football is an extremely famous game which attracts people’s attention worldwide. It helps people to get relief from stress, teaches discipline and teamwork as well as brings fitness to the players and fans. It is the game of much interest, joy and wonder. It is played by kicking a ball with foot, so called as football game.
History of Football
Football is considered as an ancient Greek game called as harpaston. It was played in most similar way by kicking a ball with foot by the two teams. It was a rough and brutal game aimed to score goal by running or kicking the ball past the goal line. It was played without any specific limits filed size, number of players, side boundaries, etc. It is considered that it has its origin in twelfth. Later it became popular in England first and then its rules came into effect when it became a leading sport in schools in 1800s. Later, it was spread to the America. In the mid, it was ban especially in the schools because of the increasing brutality. However, it got legalized by committee in 1905 but still prohibited for rough play like locking arms, etc.
How to Play Football Game
Football is a popular game which keeps players healthy and disciplined. It develops their mind and team spirit and sense of tolerance among them. It is a game played for ninety minutes (in two halves of 45 minutes and 15 minutes break). This game has two teams of eleven players in each. Players have to kick a ball with their foot and take a goal by putting ball into the goalpost of the opponent team. In order to oppose the goal made by players of opponent team, there is a goalkeeper on each side. No one player is allowed to touch the ball with hand except the goal-keeper. A team having more goals got declared as the winner and other as loser. The game is conducted by a referee and two linesmen (one on each side). All the players are warned to strictly follow the rules while playing this game. It has been an international game and played as World Cup tournament every four years in different countries worldwide.
Benefits and Importance of Football
Playing football on regular basis provides numerous advantages to the player such as increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness, psychosocial benefits, enhances concentration level, improves fitness skills, etc. It benefits people of all ages. Following are its important benefits:
- It makes a person more disciplined, calm and punctual.
- It improves cardiovascular health as it involves running which engages the cardiovascular system a lot.
- It motivates players for teamwork.
- It improves the level of fitness skill. It helps in losing more body fat, gaining lean muscle, muscle strength, and improving the healthy habits throughout life.
- It improves physical and mental strength.
- It also provides psychological and social benefits by helping players to deal with disappointment, practice good sportsmanship, etc.
- It improves confidence level and self-esteem by developing adaptability and quick thinking among players.
- Playing football reduces depression by developing positive attitudes.
Football is a nice game which benefits a player in various aspects like physically, mentally, socially, intellectually and financially. It helps a player to make a unique reputation in the society on national and international level. Kids and children should be promoted to play football at home and schools as well to get fit physically and mentally.
This article is about the overall concept of games called football. For specific versions of the game, the balls themselves and other uses of the term, see Football (disambiguation).
Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with a foot to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears. Sports commonly called football in certain places include: association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby league or rugby union); and Gaelic football. These different variations of football are known as football codes.
Various forms of football can be identified in history, often as popular peasant games. Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games at English public schools during the nineteenth century. The expanse of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century, distinct regional codes were already developing: Gaelic football, for example, deliberately incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the twentieth century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.
The various codes of football share certain common elements: Players in American football, Canadian football, rugby union and rugby league take up positions in a limited area of the field at the start of the game. They tend to use throwing and running as the main ways of moving the ball, and only kick on certain limited occasions. Body tackling is a major skill, and games typically involve short passages of play of 5–90 seconds.
Association football and Gaelic football tend to use kicking to move the ball around the pitch, with handling more limited. Body tackles are less central to the game, and players are freer to move around the field (offside laws are typically less strict).
Common rules among the sports include:
- Two teams of usually between 11 and 18 players; some variations that have fewer players (five or more per team) are also popular.
- A clearly defined area in which to play the game.
- Scoringgoals or points by moving the ball to an opposing team's end of the field and either into a goal area, or over a line.
- Goals or points resulting from players putting the ball between two goalposts.
- The goal or line being defended by the opposing team.
- Players being required to move the ball—depending on the code—by kicking, carrying, or hand-passing the ball.
- Players using only their body to move the ball.
In all codes, common skills include passing, tackling, evasion of tackles, catching and kicking. In most codes, there are rules restricting the movement of players offside, and players scoring a goal must put the ball either under or over a crossbar between the goalposts.
Main article: Football (word)
There are conflicting explanations of the origin of the word "football". It is widely assumed that the word "football" (or the phrase "foot ball") refers to the action of the foot kicking a ball. There is an alternative explanation, which is that football originally referred to a variety of games in medieval Europe, which were played on foot. There is no conclusive evidence for either explanation.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have played many ball games, some of which involved the use of the feet. The Roman game harpastum is believed to have been adapted from a Greek team game known as "ἐπίσκυρος" (Episkyros) or "φαινίνδα" (phaininda), which is mentioned by a Greek playwright, Antiphanes (388–311 BC) and later referred to by the Christian theologian Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215 AD). These games appear to have resembled rugby football. The Roman politician Cicero (106–43 BC) describes the case of a man who was killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber's shop. Roman ball games already knew the air-filled ball, the follis.Episkyros is recognised as an early form of football by FIFA.
A Chinese game called Cuju (蹴鞠), Tsu' Chu, or Zuqiu (足球) has been recognised by FIFA as the first version of the game with regular rules. It existed during the Han dynasty, the second and third centuries BC. The Japanese version of cuju is kemari (蹴鞠), and was developed during the Asuka period. This is known to have been played within the Japanese imperial court in Kyoto from about 600 AD. In kemari several people stand in a circle and kick a ball to each other, trying not to let the ball drop to the ground (much like keepie uppie). The game appears to have died out sometime before the mid-19th century. It was revived in 1903 and is now played at a number of festivals.
There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games, played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. For example, in 1586, men from a ship commanded by an English explorer named John Davis, went ashore to play a form of football with Inuit (Eskimo) people in Greenland. There are later accounts of an Inuit game played on ice, called Aqsaqtuk. Each match began with two teams facing each other in parallel lines, before attempting to kick the ball through each other team's line and then at a goal. In 1610, William Strachey, a colonist at Jamestown, Virginia recorded a game played by Native Americans, called Pahsaheman. On the Australian continent several tribes of indigenous people played kicking and catching games with stuffed balls which have been generalised by historians as Marn Grook (Djab Wurrung for "game ball"). The earliest historical account is an anecdote from the 1878 book by Robert Brough-Smyth, The Aborigines of Victoria, in which a man called Richard Thomas is quoted as saying, in about 1841 in Victoria, Australia, that he had witnessed Aboriginal people playing the game: "Mr Thomas describes how the foremost player will drop kick a ball made from the skin of a possum and how other players leap into the air in order to catch it." Some historians have theorised that Marn Grook was one of the origins ofAustralian rules football.
The Māori in New Zealand played a game called Ki-o-rahi consisting of teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target.
Games played in Mesoamerica with rubber balls by indigenous peoples are also well-documented as existing since before this time, but these had more similarities to basketball or volleyball, and no links have been found between such games and modern football sports. Northeastern American Indians, especially the Iroquois Confederation, played a game which made use of net racquets to throw and catch a small ball; however, although it is a ball-goal foot game, lacrosse (as its modern descendant is called) is likewise not usually classed as a form of "football."
These games and others may well go far back into antiquity. However, the main sources of modern football codes appear to lie in western Europe, especially England.
Medieval and early modern Europe
Further information: Medieval football
The Middle Ages saw a huge rise in popularity of annual Shrovetide football matches throughout Europe, particularly in England. An early reference to a ball game played in Britain comes from the 9th century Historia Brittonum, which describes "a party of boys ... playing at ball". References to a ball game played in northern France known as La Soule or Choule, in which the ball was propelled by hands, feet, and sticks, date from the 12th century.
The early forms of football played in England, sometimes referred to as "mob football", would be played between neighbouring towns and villages, involving an unlimited number of players on opposing teams who would clash en masse, struggling to move an item, such as inflated animal's bladder to particular geographical points, such as their opponents' church, with play taking place in the open space between neighbouring parishes. The game was played primarily during significant religious festivals, such as Shrovetide, Christmas, or Easter, and Shrovetide games have survived into the modern era in a number of English towns (see below).
The first detailed description of what was almost certainly football in England was given by William FitzStephen in about 1174–1183. He described the activities of London youths during the annual festival of Shrove Tuesday:
After lunch all the youth of the city go out into the fields to take part in a ball game. The students of each school have their own ball; the workers from each city craft are also carrying their balls. Older citizens, fathers, and wealthy citizens come on horseback to watch their juniors competing, and to relive their own youth vicariously: you can see their inner passions aroused as they watch the action and get caught up in the fun being had by the carefree adolescents.
Most of the very early references to the game speak simply of "ball play" or "playing at ball". This reinforces the idea that the games played at the time did not necessarily involve a ball being kicked.
An early reference to a ball game that was probably football comes from 1280 at Ulgham, Northumberland, England: "Henry... while playing at ball.. ran against David". Football was played in Ireland in 1308, with a documented reference to John McCrocan, a spectator at a "football game" at Newcastle, County Down being charged with accidentally stabbing a player named William Bernard. Another reference to a football game comes in 1321 at Shouldham, Norfolk, England: "[d]uring the game at ball as he kicked the ball, a lay friend of his... ran against him and wounded himself".
In 1314, Nicholas de Farndone, Lord Mayor of the City of London issued a decree banning football in the French used by the English upper classes at the time. A translation reads: "[f]orasmuch as there is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large foot balls [rageries de grosses pelotes de pee] in the fields of the public from which many evils might arise which God forbid: we command and forbid on behalf of the king, on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in the future." This is the earliest reference to football.
In 1363, King Edward III of England issued a proclamation banning "...handball, football, or hockey; coursing and cock-fighting, or other such idle games", showing that "football" – whatever its exact form in this case – was being differentiated from games involving other parts of the body, such as handball.
A game known as "football" was played in Scotland as early as the 15th century: it was prohibited by the Football Act 1424 and although the law fell into disuse it was not repealed until 1906. There is evidence for schoolboys playing a "football" ball game in Aberdeen in 1633 (some references cite 1636) which is notable as an early allusion to what some have considered to be passing the ball. The word "pass" in the most recent translation is derived from "huc percute" (strike it here) and later "repercute pilam" (strike the ball again) in the original Latin. It is not certain that the ball was being struck between members of the same team. The original word translated as "goal" is "metum", literally meaning the "pillar at each end of the circus course" in a Roman chariot race. There is a reference to "get hold of the ball before [another player] does" (Praeripe illi pilam si possis agere) suggesting that handling of the ball was allowed. One sentence states in the original 1930 translation "Throw yourself against him" (Age, objice te illi).
King Henry IV of England also presented one of the earliest documented uses of the English word "football", in 1409, when he issued a proclamation forbidding the levying of money for "foteball".
There is also an account in Latin from the end of the 15th century of football being played at Cawston, Nottinghamshire. This is the first description of a "kicking game" and the first description of dribbling: "[t]he game at which they had met for common recreation is called by some the foot-ball game. It is one in which young men, in country sport, propel a huge ball not by throwing it into the air but by striking it and rolling it along the ground, and that not with their hands but with their feet... kicking in opposite directions" The chronicler gives the earliest reference to a football pitch, stating that: "[t]he boundaries have been marked and the game had started.
Other firsts in the mediæval and early modern eras:
- "a football", in the sense of a ball rather than a game, was first mentioned in 1486. This reference is in Dame Juliana Berners' Book of St Albans. It states: "a certain rounde instrument to play with ...it is an instrument for the foote and then it is calde in Latyn 'pila pedalis', a fotebal."
- a pair of football boots was ordered by King Henry VIII of England in 1526.
- women playing a form of football was first described in 1580 by Sir Philip Sidney in one of his poems: "[a] tyme there is for all, my mother often sayes, When she, with skirts tuckt very hy, with girles at football playes."
- the first references to goals are in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1584 and 1602 respectively, John Norden and Richard Carew referred to "goals" in Cornish hurling. Carew described how goals were made: "they pitch two bushes in the ground, some eight or ten foote asunder; and directly against them, ten or twelue [twelve] score off, other twayne in like distance, which they terme their Goales". He is also the first to describe goalkeepers and passing of the ball between players.
- the first direct reference to scoring a goal is in John Day's play The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green (performed circa 1600; published 1659): "I'll play a gole at camp-ball" (an extremely violent variety of football, which was popular in East Anglia). Similarly in a poem in 1613, Michael Drayton refers to "when the Ball to throw, And drive it to the Gole, in squadrons forth they goe".
Main article: Calcio Fiorentino
In the 16th century, the city of Florence celebrated the period between Epiphany and Lent by playing a game which today is known as "calcio storico" ("historic kickball") in the Piazza Santa Croce. The young aristocrats of the city would dress up in fine silk costumes and embroil themselves in a violent form of football. For example, calcio players could punch, shoulder charge, and kick opponents. Blows below the belt were allowed. The game is said to have originated as a military training exercise. In 1580, Count Giovanni de' Bardi di Vernio wrote Discorso sopra 'l giuoco del Calcio Fiorentino. This is sometimes said to be the earliest code of rules for any football game. The game was not played after January 1739 (until it was revived in May 1930).
Official disapproval and attempts to ban football
Main article: Attempts to ban football games
There have been many attempts to ban football, from the middle ages through to the modern day. The first such law was passed in England in 1314; it was followed by more than 30 in England alone between 1314 and 1667.:6 Football faced armed opposition in the 18th Century when used as a cover for violent protest against the enclosure act. Women were banned from playing at English and Scottish Football League grounds in 1921, a ban that was only lifted in the 1970s. Female footballers still face similar problems in some parts of the world.
Establishment of modern codes
English public schools
Main article: English public school football games
While football continued to be played in various forms throughout Britain, its public schools (known as private schools in other countries) are widely credited with four key achievements in the creation of modern football codes. First of all, the evidence suggests that they were important in taking football away from its "mob" form and turning it into an organised team sport. Second, many early descriptions of football and references to it were recorded by people who had studied at these schools. Third, it was teachers, students and former students from these schools who first codified football games, to enable matches to be played between schools. Finally, it was at English public schools that the division between "kicking" and "running" (or "carrying") games first became clear.
The earliest evidence that games resembling football were being played at English public schools – mainly attended by boys from the upper, upper-middle and professional classes – comes from the Vulgaria by William Herman in 1519. Herman had been headmaster at Eton and Winchester colleges and his Latin textbook includes a translation exercise with the phrase "We wyll playe with a ball full of wynde".
Richard Mulcaster, a student at Eton College in the early 16th century and later headmaster at other English schools, has been described as "the greatest sixteenth Century advocate of football". Among his contributions are the earliest evidence of organised team football. Mulcaster's writings refer to teams ("sides" and "parties"), positions ("standings"), a referee ("judge over the parties") and a coach "(trayning maister)". Mulcaster's "footeball" had evolved from the disordered and violent forms of traditional football:
[s]ome smaller number with such overlooking, sorted into sides and standings, not meeting with their bodies so boisterously to trie their strength: nor shouldring or shuffing one an other so barbarously ... may use footeball for as much good to the body, by the chiefe use of the legges.
In 1633, David Wedderburn, a teacher from Aberdeen, mentioned elements of modern football games in a short Latin textbook called Vocabula. Wedderburn refers to what has been translated into modern English as "keeping goal" and makes an allusion to passing the ball ("strike it here"). There is a reference to "get hold of the ball", suggesting that some handling was allowed. It is clear that the tackles allowed included the charging and holding of opposing players ("drive that man back").
A more detailed description of football is given in Francis Willughby's Book of Games, written in about 1660. Willughby, who had studied at Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield, is the first to describe goals and a distinct playing field: "a close that has a gate at either end. The gates are called Goals." His book includes a diagram illustrating a football field. He also mentions tactics ("leaving some of their best players to guard the goal"); scoring ("they that can strike the ball through their opponents' goal first win") and the way teams were selected ("the players being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness"). He is the first to describe a "law" of football: "they must not strike [an opponent's leg] higher than the ball".
English public schools were the first to codify football games. In particular, they devised the first offside rules, during the late 18th century. In the earliest manifestations of these rules, players were "off their side" if they simply stood between the ball and the goal which was their objective. Players were not allowed to pass the ball forward, either by foot or by hand. They could only dribble with their feet, or advance the ball in a scrum or similar formation. However, offside laws began to diverge and develop differently at each school, as is shown by the rules of football from Winchester, Rugby, Harrow and Cheltenham, during between 1810 and 1850. The first known codes – in the sense of a set of rules – were those of Eton in 1815  and Aldenham in 1825.)
During the early 19th century, most working class people in Britain had to work six days a week, often for over twelve hours a day. They had neither the time nor the inclination to engage in sport for recreation and, at the time, many children were part of the labour force. Feast day football played on the streets was in decline. Public school boys, who enjoyed some freedom from work, became the inventors of organised football games with formal codes of rules.
Football was adopted by a number of public schools as a way of encouraging competitiveness and keeping youths fit. Each school drafted its own rules, which varied widely between different schools and were changed over time with each new intake of pupils. Two schools of thought developed regarding rules. Some schools favoured a game in which the ball could be carried (as at Rugby, Marlborough and Cheltenham), while others preferred a game where kicking and dribbling the ball was promoted (as at Eton, Harrow, Westminster and Charterhouse). The division into these two camps was partly the result of circumstances in which the games were played. For example, Charterhouse and Westminster at the time had restricted playing areas; the boys were confined to playing their ball game within the school cloisters, making it difficult for them to adopt rough and tumble running games.
William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School, is said to have "with a fine disregard for the rules of football, as played in his time [emphasis added], first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus creating the distinctive feature of the rugby game." in 1823. This act is usually said to be the beginning of Rugby football, but there is little evidence that it occurred, and most sports historians believe the story to be apocryphal. The act of 'taking the ball in his arms' is often misinterpreted as 'picking the ball up' as it is widely believed that Webb Ellis' 'crime' was handling the ball, as in modern soccer, however handling the ball at the time was often permitted and in some cases compulsory, the rule for which Webb Ellis showed disregard was running forward with it as the rules of his time only allowed a player to retreat backwards or kick forwards.
The boom in rail transport in Britain during the 1840s meant that people were able to travel further and with less inconvenience than they ever had before. Inter-school sporting competitions became possible. However, it was difficult for schools to play each other at football, as each school played by its own rules. The solution to this problem was usually that the match be divided into two halves, one half played by the rules of the host "home" school, and the other half by the visiting "away" school.
The modern rules of many football codes were formulated during the mid- or late- 19th century. This also applies to other sports such as lawn bowls, lawn tennis, etc. The major impetus for this was the patenting of the world's first lawnmower in 1830. This allowed for the preparation of modern ovals, playing fields, pitches, grass courts, etc.
Apart from Rugby football, the public school codes have barely been played beyond the confines of each school's playing fields. However, many of them are still played at the schools which created them (see Surviving UK school games below).
Public schools' dominance of sports in the UK began to wane after the Factory Act of 1850, which significantly increased the recreation time available to working class children. Before 1850, many British children had to work six days a week, for more than twelve hours a day. From 1850, they could not work before 6 a.m. (7 a.m. in winter) or after 6 p.m. on weekdays (7 p.m. in winter); on Saturdays they had to cease work at 2 p.m. These changes mean that working class children had more time for games, including various forms of football.
Main article: Oldest football clubs
Sports clubs dedicated to playing football began in the 18th century, for example London's Gymnastic Society which was founded in the mid-18th century and ceased playing matches in 1796.
The first documented club to bear in the title a reference to being a 'football club' were called "The Foot-Ball Club" who were located in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the period 1824–41. The club forbade tripping but allowed pushing and holding and the picking up of the ball.
In 1845, three boys at Rugby school were tasked with codifying the rules then being used at the school. These were the first set of written rules (or code) for any form of football. This further assisted the spread of the Rugby game.
Main article: Oldest football competitions
One of the longest running football fixture is the Cordner-Eggleston Cup, contested between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College, Melbourne every year since 1858. It is believed by many to also be the first match of Australian rules football, although it was played under experimental rules in its first year. The first football trophy tournament was the Caledonian Challenge Cup, donated by the Royal Caledonian Society of Melbourne, played in 1861 under the Melbourne Rules. The oldest football league is a rugby football competition, the United Hospitals Challenge Cup (1874), while the oldest rugby trophy is the Yorkshire Cup, contested since 1878. The South Australian Football Association (30 April 1877) is the oldest surviving Australian rules football competition. The oldest surviving soccer trophy is the Youdan Cup (1867) and the oldest national soccer competition is the English FA Cup (1871). The Football League (1888) is recognised as the longest running Association Football league. The first ever international football match took place between sides representing England and Scotland on March 5, 1870 at the Oval under the authority of the FA. The first Rugby international took place in 1871.
Main article: Football (ball)
In Europe, early footballs were made out of animal bladders, more specifically pig's bladders, which were inflated. Later leather coverings were introduced to allow the balls to keep their shape. However, in 1851, Richard Lindon and William Gilbert, both shoemakers from the town of Rugby (near the school), exhibited both round and oval-shaped balls at the Great Exhibition in London. Richard Lindon's wife is said to have died of lung disease caused by blowing up pig's bladders. Lindon also won medals for the invention of the "Rubber inflatable Bladder" and the "Brass Hand Pump".
In 1855, the U.S. inventor Charles Goodyear – who had patented vulcanised rubber – exhibited a spherical football, with an exterior of vulcanised rubber panels, at the Paris Exhibition Universelle. The ball was to prove popular in early forms of football in the U.S.A.
The iconic ball with a regular pattern of hexagons and pentagons (see truncated icosahedron) did not become popular until the 1960s, and was first used in the World Cup in 1970.
Modern ball passing tactics
Main article: Passing (association football)
The earliest reference to a game of football involving players passing the ball and attempting to score past a goalkeeper was written in 1633 by David Wedderburn, a poet and teacher in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nevertheless, the original text does not state whether the allusion to passing as 'kick the ball back' ('Repercute pilam') was in a forward or backward direction or between members of the same opposing teams (as was usual at this time)
"Scientific" football is first recorded in 1839 from Lancashire and in the modern game in Rugby football from 1862 and from Sheffield FC as early as 1865. The first side to play a passing combination game was the Royal Engineers AFC in 1869/70 By 1869 they were "work[ing] well together", "backing up" and benefiting from "cooperation". By 1870 the Engineers were passing the ball: "Lieut. Creswell, who having brought the ball up the side then kicked it into the middle to another of his side, who kicked it through the posts the minute before time was called" Passing was a regular feature of their style By early 1872 the Engineers were the first football team renowned for "play[ing] beautifully together" A double pass is first reported from Derby school against Nottingham Forest in March 1872, the first of which is irrefutably a short pass: "Mr Absey dribbling the ball half the length of the field delivered it to Wallis, who kicking it cleverly in front of the goal, sent it to the captain who drove it at once between the Nottingham posts" The first side to have perfected the modern formation was Cambridge University AFC and introduced the 2–3–5 "pyramid" formation.
Main article: Cambridge rules
In 1848, at Cambridge University, Mr. H. de Winton and Mr. J.C. Thring, who were both formerly at Shrewsbury School, called a meeting at Trinity College, Cambridge with 12 other representatives from Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester and Shrewsbury. An eight-hour meeting produced what amounted to the first set of modern rules, known as the Cambridge rules. No copy of these rules now exists, but a revised version from circa 1856 is held in the library of Shrewsbury School. The rules clearly favour the kicking game. Handling was only allowed when a player catches the ball directly from the foot entitling them to a free kick and there was a primitive offside rule, disallowing players from "loitering" around the opponents' goal. The Cambridge rules were not widely adopted outside English public schools and universities (but it was arguably the most significant influence on the Football Association committee members responsible for formulating the rules of Association football).
Main article: Sheffield rules
By the late 1850s, many football clubs had been formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various codes of football. Sheffield Football Club, founded in 1857 in the English city of Sheffield by Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, was later recognised as the world's oldest club playing association football. However, the club initially played its own code of football: the Sheffield rules. The code was largely independent of the public school rules, the most significant difference being the lack of an offside rule.
The code was responsible for many innovations that later spread to association football. These included free kicks, corner kicks, handball, throw-ins and the crossbar. By the 1870s they became the dominant code in the north and midlands of England. At this time a series of rule changes by both the London and Sheffield FAs gradually eroded the differences between the two games until the adoption of a common code in 1877.
Main article: Australian rules football
See also: Origins of Australian rules football
There is archival evidence of "foot-ball" games being played in various parts of Australia throughout the first half of the 19th century. The origins of an organised game of football known today as Australian rules football can be traced back to 1858 in Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria.
In July 1858, Tom Wills, an Australian-born cricketer educated at Rugby School in England, wrote a letter to Bell's Life in Victoria & Sporting Chronicle, calling for a "foot-ball club" with a "code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during winter. This is considered by historians to be a defining moment in the creation of Australian rules football. Through publicity and personal contacts Wills was able to co-ordinate football matches in Melbourne that experimented with various rules, the first of which was played on July 31, 1858. One week later, Wills umpired a schoolboys match between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College. Following these matches, organised football in Melbourne rapidly increased in popularity.
Wills and others involved in these early matches formed the Melbourne Football Club (the oldest surviving Australian football club) on May 14, 1859. Club members Wills, William Hammersley, J. B. Thompson and Thomas H. Smith met with the intention of forming a set of rules that would be widely adopted by other clubs. The committee debated rules used in English public school games; Wills pushed for various rugby football rules he learnt during his schooling. The first rules share similarities with these games, and were shaped to suit to Australian conditions. H. C. A. Harrison, a seminal figure in Australian football, recalled that his cousin Wills wanted "a game of our own". The code was distinctive in the prevalence of the mark, free kick, tackling, lack of an offside rule and that players were specifically penalised for throwing the ball.
The Melbourne football rules were widely distributed and gradually adopted by the other Victorian clubs. The rules were updated several times during the 1860s to accommodate the rules of other influential Victorian football clubs. A significant redraft in 1866 by H. C. A. Harrison's committee accommodated the Geelong Football Club's rules, making the game then known as "Victorian Rules" increasingly distinct from other codes. It soon adopted cricket fields and an oval ball, used specialised goal and behind posts, and featured bouncing the ball while running and spectacular high marking. The game spread quickly to other Australian colonies. Outside its heartland in southern Australia, the code experienced a significant period of decline following World War I but has since grown throughout Australia and in other parts of the world, and the Australian Football League emerged as the dominant professional competition.
Main article: The Football Association
During the early 1860s, there were increasing attempts in England to unify and reconcile the various public school games. In 1862, J. C. Thring, who had been one of the driving forces behind the original Cambridge Rules, was a master at Uppingham School and he issued his own rules of what he called "The Simplest Game" (these are also known as the Uppingham Rules). In early October 1863 another new revised version of the Cambridge Rules was drawn up by a seven member committee representing former pupils from Harrow, Shrewsbury, Eton, Rugby, Marlborough and Westminster.
At the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, London on the evening of October 26, 1863, representatives of several football clubs in the London Metropolitan area met for the inaugural meeting of The Football Association (FA). The aim of the Association was to establish a single unifying code and regulate the playing of the game among its members. Following the first meeting, the public schools were invited to join the association. All of them declined, except Charterhouse and Uppingham. In total, six meetings of the FA were held between October and December 1863. After the third meeting, a draft set of rules were published. However, at the beginning of the fourth meeting, attention was drawn to the recently published Cambridge Rules of 1863. The Cambridge rules differed from the draft FA rules in two significant areas; namely running with (carrying) the ball and hacking (kicking opposing players in the shins). The two contentious FA rules were as follows:
IX. A player shall be entitled to run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal if he makes a fair catch, or catches the ball on the first bound; but in case of a fair catch, if he makes his mark he shall not run.
X. If any player shall run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal, any player on the opposite side shall be at liberty to charge, hold, trip or hack him, or to wrest the ball from him, but no player shall be held and hacked at the same time.
At the fifth meeting it was proposed that these two rules be removed. Most of the delegates supported this, but F. M. Campbell, the representative from Blackheath and the first FA treasurer, objected. He said: "hacking is the true football". However, the motion to ban running with the ball in hand and hacking was carried and Blackheath withdrew from the FA. After the final meeting on 8 December, the FA published the "Laws of Football", the first comprehensive set of rules for the game later known as Association Football. The term "soccer", in use since the late 19th century, derives from an Oxford University abbreviation of "Association".
The first FA rules still contained elements that are no longer part of association football, but which are still recognisable in other games (such as Australian football and rugby football): for instance, a player could make a fair catch and claim a mark, which entitled him to a free kick; and if a player touched the ball behind the opponents' goal line, his side was entitled to a free kick at goal, from 15 yards (13.5 metres) in front of the goal line.
Main article: History of rugby union
In Britain, by 1870, there were about 75 clubs playing variations of the Rugby school game. There were also "rugby" clubs in Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. However, there was no generally accepted set of rules for rugby until 1871, when 21 clubs from London came together to form the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The first official RFU rules were adopted in June 1871. These rules allowed passing the ball. They also included the try, where touching the ball over the line allowed an attempt at goal, though drop-goals from marks and general play, and penalty conversions were still the main form of contest.
Main articles: History of American football and Canadian football § History
As was the case in Britain, by the early 19th century, North American schools and universities played their own local games, between sides made up of students. For example, students at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire played a game called Old division football, a variant of the association football codes, as early as the 1820s. They remained largely "mob football" style games, with huge numbers of players attempting to advance the ball into a goal area, often by any means necessary. Rules were simple, violence and injury were common. The violence of these mob-style games led to widespread protests and a decision to abandon them. Yale University, under pressure from the city of New Haven, banned the play of all forms of football in 1860, while Harvard University followed suit in 1861. In its place, two general types of football evolved: "kicking" games and "running" (or "carrying") games. A hybrid of the two, known as the "Boston game", was played by a group known as the Oneida Football Club. The club, considered by some historians as the first formal football club in the United States, was formed in 1862 by schoolboys who played the "Boston game" on Boston Common. The game began to return to American college campuses by the late 1860s. The universities of Yale, Princeton (then known as the College of New Jersey), Rutgers, and Brown all began playing "kicking" games during this time. In 1867, Princeton used rules based on those of the English Football Association.