Love it or hate it, football has had enough fans to keep it in the premier league of the world’s most popular sports for many, many years.
Match of the Day. People have been kicking balls around for thousands of years, so it’s impossible to say who invented football or when.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all played football games. An early form of football called cuju was played in ancient China about 2,500 years ago. Two teams of twelve players competed to kick a leather ball through a total of twelve goals. In Japan, Kemari was played from about AD 600. It was a bit like a keepie-uppie competition.
During the Middle Ages in England, huge football games were played between entire villages, in which players tried to kick a blown-up pig’s bladder into the opposing team’s church. It’s thought that the game we know today as football originated in these riotous matches.
Football began to be played in public schools in England from the 1500s onwards. Rules were made so that matches could be played between schools and the game gradually evolved into the sport we know today.
The first football clubs were set up in England in the 19th century, and the Football Association, founded in 1863, established a universal set of rules for the game. The first match of Association Football was between Barnes and Richmond (in south-west London). It ended in a goalless draw.
Hold a penalty shoot-out with a mate and record the outcome. Toss a coin to decide who gets to choose whether to start in goal or take the first penalty.
If a goal is scored, good job. Then it’s the other person’s turn and the goalie becomes the penalty-taker. Keep taking turns until you have both taken five penalties each. The winner is the person who has scored the most goals. If you didn’t win the first time, how many times did it take until you did win?
Organise a friendly match between your mates. It is your job to manage one of the teams. Before the game, plan out some goal-scoring moves for your team, using the diagram below. Make sure your team know what to do to seal victory! Did your team win? What was the final score? Did your planned moves work?
Football phobia: Edward II banned football in London in 1314 because it caused noise and disruption and ‘many evils’. In 1349 Edward III also banned football, because he thought everyone should practice archery instead.
If kicking a ball around isn’t your idea of fun, but bossing people around is, why not try your hand at management instead?