Football is undoubtedly the biggest sport in the world because it is the most practiced, ahead of cricket, basketball, tennis and hockey. Almost every country plays it, and over 250 million players are licensed worldwide.

Its popularity probably stems from its simplicity: after all, all you need is a ball and a good pair of shoes to play. The creation of football is a fabulous story but also a popular story that has continued to grow over the years, and that we are going to tell you.

Who invented football and when?

Modern football was invented in England in the 19th century, but the game of ball has much older origins. The game of kemari from a Chinese sport then popularized in Japan in the 7th century would be the true ancestor of football. It was a game of juggling with the right leg, which involved keeping the ball in the air for as long as possible without dropping it.

Other fairly similar variants have been identified around the world, such as Pasuckuakohowog among American Indians, Marngrook among Australian Aborigines, and Ki-o-rahi among Maori in Polynesia. Football would also have its origins in soule, a game from the Middle Ages which was played as much with the feet as with the hands, and which would also have inspired handball and rugby.

The game of ball was practiced in England as everywhere else, but with very variable rules according to schools and regions. As early as 1843, the University of Cambridge proposed an attempt to standardize and codify the rules of the game. The “Cambridge rules” of 1948 were the first official football regulations. They stipulate, among other things, that the game is played only with the feet, that the ball must be placed in the middle of the field at the start of the game, that a touch is awarded if it leaves the field, that a fault is penalized with a free kick and a goal is scored when the ball crosses the line bounded by two flags placed on either side of the pitch.

The official date of birth of football is therefore 1848, although the rules enacted were not immediately applied throughout England. It was in 1863 that a group of 11 schools and clubs in London adopted common regulations, and in 1877 that the newly created Football Association agreed on a uniform code respected by the 43 clubs in the country.

The first official football match took place in 1860 and it opposed Sheffield FC to Hallam FC (two cities from Sheffield, in the north of England). It was in 1866 that the duration of a football match was fixed at 90 minutes, and in 1870 that the rule of two teams of eleven players on the field was definitively adopted.

Football then quickly became internationalized, notably under the influence of British immigrants in South America, through the creation of federations and associations in Brazil, Argentina, France and Holland.

What is the goal of football?

The ultimate goal of football is to score… goals! The main objective is therefore to send as many balls as possible into the opposing team’s goal until the end of the match is signaled. To do this, the team is made up of a goalkeeper and 10 field players occupying more specific functions of defenders, midfielders or attackers.

Football is popular because its rules are simple to apply (for players) and to understand (for spectators). But it’s also a spectacular game that requires a lot of skill and speed. The ball is not easy to control at full speed, and mastering a game well requires applying fine strategies of collaboration with your teammates.

The goal of football is to be as enjoyable to play as it is to watch, to be able to thrill crowds of spectators all over the world but also to be able to be played anywhere (indoors or outdoors, on hard ground or grass…) and in multiple ways (2 against 2, 5 against 5, 7 against 7…).

Who scored the first goal in football history?

The first goalscorer in football history would be Kenny Davenport, a Bolton Wanderers player (from the Bolton club, near Manchester). That first goal was scored at 3:47 p.m. on Saturday September 8, 1888 against Derby County, a club in the center of the country. This right winger is historically recognized as the first goalscorer in the history of professional football, but it is unclear whether he was the best player of his time.

It was long believed that the first goal in the history of football had been scored against his camp by a certain Gershom Cox on September 6, 1888, but a very serious historian’s investigation restored the truth in 2013.

On the other hand, it was a Frenchman who scored the first goal in the history of the football World Cup, during the opening match played against Mexico during the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.

What is the oldest football club in the world?

The title of oldest football club in the world is disputed by several clubs and in fact depends on certain criteria. The first football club in the world would be the Foot-Ball Club of Edinburgh created in 1824 by John Hope, a Scottish student.

Sheffield Football Club, founded in the autumn of 1857, is said to be the oldest professional football club in the world, and as such is officially recognized by FIFA and the Football Association of England (FA). Previously founded football clubs used their own rules, and Sheffield Football Club would have been the first club to follow official Federation rules.

Regarding women’s football, the oldest football club is also English: it is the British Ladies’ Football Club created in London in 1894. The British Ladies’ Football Club was made up of two teams “North” and “South” who competed in friendly matches.

The oldest club in France is said to have been created in Le Havre in 1894 as well, followed by Girondins de Bordeaux, Union Sportive Avranches and Olympique de Marseille between 1897 and 1899.

What if it was your turn to leave your mark on the history of sport? Our MBA in sports events will teach you how to build an event, budget it, communicate about it and find partners. Up to you !

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