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- A Brief History of Football -

Games that involved the kicking of a ball have been played in many countries throughout history, but football as we know it today is very much an invention of the English public school system. It was there that football developed into a organized team sport, and it was teachers and former pupils from those schools that would formalize and standardize the rules of the modern game in the 19th century, culminating in the formation of the Football Association in 1863.

Mob football and the public school game
The Football Association
Amateurism and professionalism
Spreading the Game
FIFA and the World Cup
Introduction of the European Cup
The changing face of fan culture
The commercialization of football



Mob football and the public school game
Mob football might not seem a particularly flattering name for the game that was played in towns and villages in Europe from the middle ages onwards, but it is an accurate one. The games involved a mob of people struggling to get an inflated pig's bladder to goals or markers at each end of a town or field by any means. The 'play' was chaotic and had few rules. Valued for the physical exercise the game afforded it's players, football also came to be played in English public schools, albeit in a more subdued and regulated form. Because of their relative isolation the rules varied from school to school.
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The Football Association
It is with the founding of the Football Association in 1863 that the history of football as we know it today truly starts.



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Amateurism and professionalism
As the popularity of football increased, it's potential as a spectator sport became apparent.



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Spreading the Game
British expatriates took their game with them and thus introduced it to the rest of Europe and South America.



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FIFA and the World Cup
As Football took hold in various parts of the world, the call for an international ruling body increased, and in 1904 the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded.


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Introduction of the European Cup
Clubs had been playing foreign opposition since the earliest days of club football, but these matches had never progressed beyond tours and incidental encounters.


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The changing face of fan culture
The strong emotions the game elicited had always been a cause of concern, but noting could have prepared the football world for the rise of hooliganism in the 1960's, 70's and '80's.


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The commercialization of football
During the 1990's the commercial aspects of football became increasingly dominant. A consolidated effort by football's governing bodies to sanitize the game and it's spectators, in order to make it as attractive to potential sponsors as possible, resulted in a game more popular than ever before, but robbed of much of it's charm.
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