Origin of Football

According to sportsshow.net football or soccer is the most popular game in the earth with estimated fans over 3.5 billion. It is the national game of France, Italy, Haiti and many other nations. It has a long history and the modern football take its shape in England in the middle of the 18th century.

Football or soccer is a game in which two teams of 11 players, using any part of their bodies except their hands and arms, try to maneuver the ball into the opposing team’s goal. Only the goalkeeper is permitted to handle the ball and may do so only within the penalty area surrounding the goal. The team that scores more goals wins.

There is a legend; there was a tradition in China that, after a war the head of the defeated king would present at the feet of the winning king. Then the winning king would kick that head. It is a horrible thing to do, but those ancient Chinese kings were used to do that. This was the first legend of kicking a round shaped thing. The idea of football most probably was originated from this legend.

The first known ball game which involved kicking took place in China in the 3rd and 2nd century BC under the name Cuju. Cuju was played with a round ball (stitched leather with fur or feathers inside) on an area of a square. A modified form of this game later spread to Japan and was by the name of Kemari practiced under ceremonial forms.


In ancient Greece a game similar to football existed which was called ‘Episkyros‘. The name of the game means ‘common ball’ and it involved two teams of players (with numbers comparable to football) with one ball. But the players were allowed to use their hands. ‘Episkyros‘ was violent in nature and it is believed to be related somewhat to the later ancient Roman game ‘Harpastum’, which means ‘carried away’. So, we can see that, there was a lot of different football games across the world and it has changed over time.

The game was developed in England in the 12th century. In this century, games that resembled football were played on meadows and roads in England. Well, it’s true that the Chinese had clubs, rules, and fans more than 1,000 years ago. But the versions of kickball were a long way from modern football as defined in Sheffield in the 1860s. It was the British codifying of the rules that made association football the world’s game, the sport of the people, not just of the toffs.

Football clubs have existed since the 15th century, but unorganized and without official status. So, it is hard to decide about the first football club. Some historians suggest that it was the Foot-Ball Club formed 1824 in Edinburgh. Early clubs were often formed by former school students and the first of this kind was formed in Sheffield in 1855. The oldest among professional football clubs is the English club Notts County that was formed in 1862 and still exists today.


Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) became the first important competition in 1871. The following year a match between two national teams was played for the first time. The match that involved England and Scotland ended 0-0 and was followed by 4,000 people at Hamilton Crescent.

Twelve years later, in 1883, the first international tournament took place and included four national teams: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. By the early 20th century, football had spread across Europe, so it needed an international organization. In 1904 representatives from the football associations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland founded the “Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)”. Now football is the most popular sport and the biggest show of football, the world cup, come after every 4 years and 211 men’s national football teams affiliated to FIFA. Football is played in domestic leagues and every league have 20 teams generally. There are outliers like MLS (major league soccer) with 22 teams, German Bundesliga with 18 teams and so many unknown leagues have their own rules and regulations.

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Football is a great sport and it has a great history as it is being played since the early days. I tried to discuss about the most popular legends and roots of the football. The photos are taken from internet and please let me know any other interesting facts or your remarks about the history of football and enjoy the game.

Data sources:

  1. Football; Wikipedia
  2. footballhistory.org
  3. An article about football in Britannica
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