Origin of football

What is the origin of football

Games that were based on kicking the ball were played in many countries throughout the history. The oldest one for which there is evidence is Tsu-Chu, the military exercise in the time of Han dynasty ( 206 BC – 220 AD). Tsu-Chu included a small leather ball and the net that was hung on two bamboos trees. Usage of hands was not allowed, it was allowed to use feet and other parts of the body. The main difference between football nowadays and Tsu-Chu was the height of the target. It was set on 30 meters high. Since the introduction of Tsu-Chu many countries included similar games. Many cultures have games that based to feet usage. Japan had Kemari which is still in use today.

Greek sources tell about the game with the ball. People call it Episkirios and Epikonis. These were the combination of football and handball which many believe that American Football was developed from this.

Harpastum was a game that was played in Rome arenas which was very harsh of legion competing. Seneca, the Roman philosopher mention it in his memoirs.

In the cradle of Renaissance, Florence, a sort of football called Florence Calcio was played from XIV to XVI century. It started as a game on the open space only to be moved to closed areas with the visitor stands. Football in Italy is called Calcio today.

England as a home of football

In the beginning of XIX century, individual sports were characteristic for England. Then, in 1823, William Webb Ellis from Rugby school, grabbed the ball with his hands and run pass his colleagues. They asked him to throw the ball which he did by kicking it. Everyone were amazed with the accuracy so they asked him to repeat it. He did it and was accurate again. The crowd was amazed so they all started kicking the ball. First goals (posts to be precise) were made of parallel bars (used for gymnastics) and later, everything came to place.

In the beginning, the football was played only by school teams, and then in 1857, first football club was established – Sheffield (colonel Nathaniel Creswick and major William Prest). On September 8th, 1863, the first general rules were established which separated football from rugby. After the rules were established, students from Cambridge, Oxford, Rugby and Harrow played football more and more. On the initiative of players from Cambridge, Football Organization was established officially on the 1st of December, 1863 in London. This was also the first  football association in the world.

After the adoption of rules and concise plan, new clubs are funded, Forrest Barns, Crystal Palace (plays in Premier League today), and Kilburn. Soon enough, everyone played football in Great Britain so the associations of Wales, Scotland and Ireland were established, and in 1872 first international match was played between England and Scotland. In 1888, the league was formed with 12 clubs.


In 1893, the Association of Referees is formed. Their role was to introduce the new rules and to keep the one that showed great in practice. By the beginning of XX century, the entire Europe played football and on 24th of May, 1904, International Football Federation (FIFA) was formed with the headquarters in Zurich.

Football at Olympic Games

At the second Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. England defeated France 4:0. Four years later, at the Saint Louis Olympic games, Canada played against USA (4:0). In 1908, at the Olympic Games in London, football was introduced as official part of the games.

FIFA memberships

In 1911, three countries from Americas became the members of FIFA: USA, Argentina and Chile. After the World War One, FIFA was trying to create a World Championship in which they succeeded in 1930 with the World Championship in Uruguay.

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