A brief history of football

While football has been played for centuries, its beginnings were quite different from the beautiful game you might see today.

For starters, the balls didn’t begin round and they weren’t made of rubber either. Instead a pig’s bladder was blown up and encased in leather, which made it more egg shaped in appearance. The ball was lighter than they are today, but became heavier in wet conditions because of high absorbency.

There was no missing a goal because it went over the cross bar, as this was introduced later on, so for a while it didn’t matter how high you kicked the ball to score a goal, as long as it was between the posts.

As well as the standard footie kit in the late 19th century, the footballers also had to wear head gear as part of their strip which looked like a bobble hat and this fashion lasted well into the next century.

It went on to become popular in every sector of society, hence the reason why it has become the most popular sport around the world and why it continues to be such a community building sport today.

The FA first met up in 1863 in London with only 12 clubs attending. The sport began with similarities in tactics to rugby – some of which included more of a push from the forwards that sometimes ended up in a scrum to get the ball towards the goal.

Unlike rugby, however, there were originally no penalties or referees, instead the decisions lay initially with the team captains and then umpires, before referees first made an appearance in 1891, while the penalty spot was only introduced in the 20th century.

Originally, the FA allowed some degree of handball too, where a player could catch the ball and make a mark to gain an untouchable free kick. Goals were not allowed to be scored from free kicks, however. And, up until around 100 years ago, goalkeepers could also handle the ball both in and out of the penalty area.

Believe it or not, it was a Central London set of traffic lights which inspired the red and yellow card concept. The idea came to head referee Ken Aston on an occasion when he found himself stuck in traffic!

As you can see football has a long and interesting history which has contributed to making it the fun and fast paced game it is today. If you would like to find out more about the new dates for next year’s exciting ESF football tournaments, take a look online today.