The History of Football: Who Invented the Game?

Football is a beloved sport around the world, but who invented it? According to FIFA, modern football started in England in 1863. However, records trace the history of the game back to ancient China, Greece, Rome and parts of Central America. The English are credited with registering the first uniform rules for the sport, including a ban on tripping opponents and touching the ball with their hands. The earliest way to kick a ball seems to have originated in a Chinese military manual dating back to the second and third centuries called Tsu' Chu. This ancient form of football was played during the Han Dynasty.

In Europe, football began to evolve from medieval times onwards. Around the 9th century, entire peoples in England were kicking a pig's bladder from one landmark to another. Modern football was invented in 19th century England, mostly played by teams from private schools and football clubs. The game originated from a 9th-century medieval game called “popular football” that was played in England and involved teams of players competing to carry a pig's bladder from one landmark to another.

The English made the transition from football, or what the British and many others around the world call “football”, to the game we know today. Football is a family of team sports that involves, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Without qualification, the word football usually means the most popular form of football where the word is used. Sports commonly called football include association football (known as football in North America and Oceania); field football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby union and rugby league; and Gaelic football.

These various forms of football largely share common origins and are known as football codes. In all codes, common skills include passing, tackling, tackle avoidance, catching and kicking. In most codes, there are rules that restrict the movement of players offside, and players who score a goal must place the ball under or over a crossbar between the goal posts. There is an alternative explanation for where the word 'football' comes from - it originally referred to a variety of games in medieval Europe that were played on foot. The rise of rail transport in Britain during the 1840s meant that people could travel farther and with less hassle than ever before.

However, it was difficult for schools to play with each other in football as each school played by its own rules. The solution to this problem was for the match to be divided into two halves, one half played according to the rules of the host school and the other half by the visiting school. Before 1850, many British children had to work six days a week for more than twelve hours a day and had neither the time nor inclination to play sports for recreation. It was in English public schools that children enjoyed some freedom from work and became inventors of football matches organized with formal codes of rules. The dominance of sports in public schools in the United Kingdom began to decline after the Factories Act of 1850 which significantly increased recreation time available for working-class children. This allowed them more time to play sports such as football. Football has come a long way since its early days in ancient China and medieval Europe.

Today it is one of the most popular sports around the world with millions of fans cheering on their favorite teams every year.

Wanda Lobdell
Wanda Lobdell

Professional food expert. Total sushi scholar. Lifelong social media practitioner. Certified food buff. General pop culture fanatic.

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