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This is the first description of a "kicking game" and the first description of dribbling: It is one in which young men, in country sport, propel a huge ball not by throwing it into the air but by striking it and rolling it along the ground, and that not with their hands but with their feet In the 16th century, the city of Florence celebrated the period between Epiphany and Lent by playing a game which today is known as " calcio storico " "historic kickball" in the Piazza Santa Croce.
The young aristocrats of the city would dress up in fine silk costumes and embroil themselves in a violent form of football.
For example, calcio players could punch, shoulder charge, and kick opponents. Blows below the belt were allowed.
The game is said to have originated as a military training exercise. This is sometimes said to be the earliest code of rules for any football game.
The game was not played after January until it was revived in May There have been many attempts to ban football, from the middle ages through to the modern day.
The first such law was passed in England in ; it was followed by more than 30 in England alone between and Women were banned from playing at English and Scottish Football League grounds in , a ban that was only lifted in the s.
Female footballers still face similar problems in some parts of the world. While football continued to be played in various forms throughout Britain, its public schools equivalent to private schools in other countries are widely credited with four key achievements in the creation of modern football codes.
First of all, the evidence suggests that they were important in taking football away from its "mob" form and turning it into an organised team sport.
Second, many early descriptions of football and references to it were recorded by people who had studied at these schools. Third, it was teachers, students and former students from these schools who first codified football games, to enable matches to be played between schools.
Finally, it was at English public schools that the division between "kicking" and "running" or "carrying" games first became clear.
The earliest evidence that games resembling football were being played at English public schools — mainly attended by boys from the upper, upper-middle and professional classes — comes from the Vulgaria by William Herman in Herman had been headmaster at Eton and Winchester colleges and his Latin textbook includes a translation exercise with the phrase "We wyll playe with a ball full of wynde".
Richard Mulcaster , a student at Eton College in the early 16th century and later headmaster at other English schools, has been described as "the greatest sixteenth Century advocate of football".
Mulcaster's writings refer to teams "sides" and "parties" , positions "standings" , a referee "judge over the parties" and a coach " trayning maister ".
Mulcaster's "footeball" had evolved from the disordered and violent forms of traditional football:. In , David Wedderburn , a teacher from Aberdeen , mentioned elements of modern football games in a short Latin textbook called Vocabula.
Wedderburn refers to what has been translated into modern English as "keeping goal" and makes an allusion to passing the ball "strike it here".
There is a reference to "get hold of the ball", suggesting that some handling was allowed. It is clear that the tackles allowed included the charging and holding of opposing players "drive that man back".
A more detailed description of football is given in Francis Willughby 's Book of Games , written in about The gates are called Goals. He also mentions tactics "leaving some of their best players to guard the goal" ; scoring "they that can strike the ball through their opponents' goal first win" and the way teams were selected "the players being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness".
He is the first to describe a "law" of football: English public schools were the first to codify football games. In particular, they devised the first offside rules, during the late 18th century.
Players were not allowed to pass the ball forward, either by foot or by hand. They could only dribble with their feet, or advance the ball in a scrum or similar formation.
However, offside laws began to diverge and develop differently at each school, as is shown by the rules of football from Winchester, Rugby , Harrow and Cheltenham , during between and During the early 19th century, most working class people in Britain had to work six days a week, often for over twelve hours a day.
They had neither the time nor the inclination to engage in sport for recreation and, at the time, many children were part of the labour force.
Feast day football played on the streets was in decline. Public school boys, who enjoyed some freedom from work, became the inventors of organised football games with formal codes of rules.
Football was adopted by a number of public schools as a way of encouraging competitiveness and keeping youths fit. Each school drafted its own rules, which varied widely between different schools and were changed over time with each new intake of pupils.
Two schools of thought developed regarding rules. Some schools favoured a game in which the ball could be carried as at Rugby, Marlborough and Cheltenham , while others preferred a game where kicking and dribbling the ball was promoted as at Eton, Harrow, Westminster and Charterhouse.
The division into these two camps was partly the result of circumstances in which the games were played.
For example, Charterhouse and Westminster at the time had restricted playing areas; the boys were confined to playing their ball game within the school cloisters , making it difficult for them to adopt rough and tumble running games.
William Webb Ellis , a pupil at Rugby School, is said to have "with a fine disregard for the rules of football, as played in his time [emphasis added], first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus creating the distinctive feature of the rugby game.
This act is usually said to be the beginning of Rugby football, but there is little evidence that it occurred, and most sports historians believe the story to be apocryphal.
The act of 'taking the ball in his arms' is often misinterpreted as 'picking the ball up' as it is widely believed that Webb Ellis' 'crime' was handling the ball, as in modern soccer, however handling the ball at the time was often permitted and in some cases compulsory,  the rule for which Webb Ellis showed disregard was running forward with it as the rules of his time only allowed a player to retreat backwards or kick forwards.
The boom in rail transport in Britain during the s meant that people were able to travel further and with less inconvenience than they ever had before.
Inter-school sporting competitions became possible. However, it was difficult for schools to play each other at football, as each school played by its own rules.
The solution to this problem was usually that the match be divided into two halves, one half played by the rules of the host "home" school, and the other half by the visiting "away" school.
The modern rules of many football codes were formulated during the mid- or late- 19th century. This also applies to other sports such as lawn bowls, lawn tennis, etc.
The major impetus for this was the patenting of the world's first lawnmower in This allowed for the preparation of modern ovals, playing fields, pitches, grass courts, etc.
Apart from Rugby football, the public school codes have barely been played beyond the confines of each school's playing fields. However, many of them are still played at the schools which created them see Surviving UK school games below.
Public schools' dominance of sports in the UK began to wane after the Factory Act of , which significantly increased the recreation time available to working class children.
Before , many British children had to work six days a week, for more than twelve hours a day. These changes mean that working class children had more time for games, including various forms of football.
Sports clubs dedicated to playing football began in the 18th century, for example London's Gymnastic Society which was founded in the midth century and ceased playing matches in The first documented club to bear in the title a reference to being a 'football club' were called "The Foot-Ball Club" who were located in Edinburgh , Scotland, during the period — In , three boys at Rugby school were tasked with codifying the rules then being used at the school.
These were the first set of written rules or code for any form of football. One of the longest running football fixture is the Cordner-Eggleston Cup , contested between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College, Melbourne every year since It is believed by many to also be the first match of Australian rules football , although it was played under experimental rules in its first year.
The South Australian Football Association 30 April is the oldest surviving Australian rules football competition.
The oldest surviving soccer trophy is the Youdan Cup and the oldest national football competition is the English FA Cup The Football League is recognised as the longest running Association Football league.
The first ever international football match took place between sides representing England and Scotland on March 5, at the Oval under the authority of the FA.
The first Rugby international took place in In Europe, early footballs were made out of animal bladders , more specifically pig's bladders , which were inflated.
Later leather coverings were introduced to allow the balls to keep their shape. Richard Lindon's wife is said to have died of lung disease caused by blowing up pig's bladders.
In , the U. The ball was to prove popular in early forms of football in the U. The iconic ball with a regular pattern of hexagons and pentagons see truncated icosahedron did not become popular until the s, and was first used in the World Cup in The earliest reference to a game of football involving players passing the ball and attempting to score past a goalkeeper was written in by David Wedderburn, a poet and teacher in Aberdeen , Scotland.
Creswell, who having brought the ball up the side then kicked it into the middle to another of his side, who kicked it through the posts the minute before time was called"  Passing was a regular feature of their style  By early the Engineers were the first football team renowned for "play[ing] beautifully together"  A double pass is first reported from Derby school against Nottingham Forest in March , the first of which is irrefutably a short pass: In , at Cambridge University , Mr.
Thring , who were both formerly at Shrewsbury School , called a meeting at Trinity College, Cambridge , with 12 other representatives from Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester and Shrewsbury.
An eight-hour meeting produced what amounted to the first set of modern rules, known as the Cambridge rules.
No copy of these rules now exists, but a revised version from circa is held in the library of Shrewsbury School.
Handling was only allowed when a player catches the ball directly from the foot entitling them to a free kick and there was a primitive offside rule, disallowing players from "loitering" around the opponents' goal.
The Cambridge rules were not widely adopted outside English public schools and universities but it was arguably the most significant influence on the Football Association committee members responsible for formulating the rules of Association football.
By the late s, many football clubs had been formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various codes of football. Sheffield Football Club , founded in in the English city of Sheffield by Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, was later recognised as the world's oldest club playing association football.
The code was largely independent of the public school rules, the most significant difference being the lack of an offside rule. The code was responsible for many innovations that later spread to association football.
These included free kicks , corner kicks , handball, throw-ins and the crossbar. At this time a series of rule changes by both the London and Sheffield FAs gradually eroded the differences between the two games until the adoption of a common code in There is archival evidence of "foot-ball" games being played in various parts of Australia throughout the first half of the 19th century.
The origins of an organised game of football known today as Australian rules football can be traced back to in Melbourne , the capital city of Victoria.
Through publicity and personal contacts Wills was able to co-ordinate football matches in Melbourne that experimented with various rules,  the first of which was played on July 31, Following these matches, organised football in Melbourne rapidly increased in popularity.
Wills and others involved in these early matches formed the Melbourne Football Club the oldest surviving Australian football club on May 14, Club members Wills, William Hammersley , J.
Thompson and Thomas H. Smith met with the intention of forming a set of rules that would be widely adopted by other clubs.
The committee debated rules used in English public school games; Wills pushed for various rugby football rules he learnt during his schooling.
The first rules share similarities with these games, and were shaped to suit to Australian conditions. Harrison , a seminal figure in Australian football, recalled that his cousin Wills wanted "a game of our own".
The Melbourne football rules were widely distributed and gradually adopted by the other Victorian clubs. The rules were updated several times during the s to accommodate the rules of other influential Victorian football clubs.
A significant redraft in by H. Harrison's committee accommodated the Geelong Football Club 's rules, making the game then known as "Victorian Rules" increasingly distinct from other codes.
It soon adopted cricket fields and an oval ball, used specialised goal and behind posts, and featured bouncing the ball while running and spectacular high marking.
The game spread quickly to other Australian colonies. Outside its heartland in southern Australia, the code experienced a significant period of decline following World War I but has since grown throughout Australia and in other parts of the world , and the Australian Football League emerged as the dominant professional competition.
During the early s, there were increasing attempts in England to unify and reconcile the various public school games.
Thring, who had been one of the driving forces behind the original Cambridge Rules, was a master at Uppingham School and he issued his own rules of what he called "The Simplest Game" these are also known as the Uppingham Rules.
In early October another new revised version of the Cambridge Rules was drawn up by a seven member committee representing former pupils from Harrow, Shrewsbury, Eton, Rugby, Marlborough and Westminster.
The aim of the Association was to establish a single unifying code and regulate the playing of the game among its members.
Following the first meeting, the public schools were invited to join the association. All of them declined, except Charterhouse and Uppingham.
In total, six meetings of the FA were held between October and December After the third meeting, a draft set of rules were published. However, at the beginning of the fourth meeting, attention was drawn to the recently published Cambridge Rules of The Cambridge rules differed from the draft FA rules in two significant areas; namely running with carrying the ball and hacking kicking opposing players in the shins.
The two contentious FA rules were as follows:. A player shall be entitled to run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal if he makes a fair catch, or catches the ball on the first bound; but in case of a fair catch, if he makes his mark he shall not run.
If any player shall run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal, any player on the opposite side shall be at liberty to charge, hold, trip or hack him, or to wrest the ball from him, but no player shall be held and hacked at the same time.
At the fifth meeting it was proposed that these two rules be removed. Most of the delegates supported this, but F. Campbell , the representative from Blackheath and the first FA treasurer, objected.
However, the motion to ban running with the ball in hand and hacking was carried and Blackheath withdrew from the FA. After the final meeting on 8 December, the FA published the " Laws of Football ", the first comprehensive set of rules for the game later known as Association Football.
The term "soccer", in use since the late 19th century, derives from an Oxford University abbreviation of "Association". The first FA rules still contained elements that are no longer part of association football, but which are still recognisable in other games such as Australian football and rugby football: In Britain , by , there were about 75 clubs playing variations of the Rugby school game.
However, there was no generally accepted set of rules for rugby until , when 21 clubs from London came together to form the Rugby Football Union RFU.
The first official RFU rules were adopted in June These rules allowed passing the ball. They also included the try , where touching the ball over the line allowed an attempt at goal, though drop-goals from marks and general play, and penalty conversions were still the main form of contest.
As was the case in Britain, by the early 19th century, North American schools and universities played their own local games, between sides made up of students.
For example, students at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire played a game called Old division football , a variant of the association football codes, as early as the s.
Rules were simple, violence and injury were common. Yale University , under pressure from the city of New Haven , banned the play of all forms of football in , while Harvard University followed suit in A hybrid of the two, known as the " Boston game ", was played by a group known as the Oneida Football Club.
The club, considered by some historians as the first formal football club in the United States, was formed in by schoolboys who played the "Boston game" on Boston Common.
The universities of Yale, Princeton then known as the College of New Jersey , Rutgers , and Brown all began playing "kicking" games during this time.
In , Princeton used rules based on those of the English Football Association. In Canada, the first documented football match was a practice game played on November 9, , at University College, University of Toronto approximately yards west of Queen's Park.
One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was Sir William Mulock, later Chancellor of the school. Barlow Cumberland, Frederick A.
Bethune, and Christopher Gwynn, one of the founders of Milton, Massachusetts, devised rules based on rugby football.
On November 6, , Rutgers faced Princeton in a game that was played with a round ball and, like all early games, used improvised rules.
It is usually regarded as the first game of American intercollegiate football. During the game, the two teams alternated between the rugby-based rules used by McGill and the Boston Game rules used by Harvard.
On November 23, , representatives from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia met at the Massasoit Convention in Springfield, Massachusetts , agreeing to adopt most of the Rugby Football Union rules, with some variations.
In , Yale coach Walter Camp , who had become a fixture at the Massasoit House conventions where the rules were debated and changed, devised a number of major innovations.
Camp's two most important rule changes that diverged the American game from rugby was replacing the scrummage with the line of scrimmage and the establishment of the down-and-distance rules.
President Theodore Roosevelt to hold a meeting with football representatives from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton on October 9, , urging them to make drastic changes.
Though it was underutilised for years, this proved to be one of the most important rule changes in the establishment of the modern game.
Over the years, Canada absorbed some of the developments in American football in an effort to distinguish it from a more rugby-oriented game.
In , the Ontario Rugby Football Union adopted the Burnside rules , which implemented the line of scrimmage and down-and-distance system from American football, among others.
In the midth century, various traditional football games, referred to collectively as caid , remained popular in Ireland, especially in County Kerry.
One observer, Father W. Ferris, described two main forms of caid during this period: By the s, Rugby and Association football had started to become popular in Ireland.
Trinity College, Dublin was an early stronghold of Rugby see the Developments in the s section, above.
The rules of the English FA were being distributed widely. Traditional forms of caid had begun to give way to a "rough-and-tumble game" which allowed tripping.
There was no serious attempt to unify and codify Irish varieties of football, until the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association GAA in The GAA sought to promote traditional Irish sports, such as hurling and to reject imported games like Rugby and Association football.
The first Gaelic football rules were drawn up by Maurice Davin and published in the United Ireland magazine on February 7, Davin's rules showed the influence of games such as hurling and a desire to formalise a distinctly Irish code of football.
The prime example of this differentiation was the lack of an offside rule an attribute which, for many years, was shared only by other Irish games like hurling, and by Australian rules football.
Professionalism had already begun to creep into the various codes of football. In England, by the s, a long-standing Rugby Football Union ban on professional players was causing regional tensions within rugby football, as many players in northern England were working class and could not afford to take time off to train, travel, play and recover from injuries.
This was not very different from what had occurred ten years earlier in soccer in Northern England but the authorities reacted very differently in the RFU, attempting to alienate the working class support in Northern England.
In , following a dispute about a player being paid broken time payments, which replaced wages lost as a result of playing rugby, representatives of the northern clubs met in Huddersfield to form the Northern Rugby Football Union NRFU.
The new body initially permitted only various types of player wage replacements. However, within two years, NRFU players could be paid, but they were required to have a job outside sport.
The demands of a professional league dictated that rugby had to become a better "spectator" sport. This was followed by the replacement of the ruck with the "play-the-ball ruck", which allowed a two-player ruck contest between the tackler at marker and the player tackled.
Mauls were stopped once the ball carrier was held, being replaced by a play-the ball-ruck. Over time, the RFU form of rugby, played by clubs which remained members of national federations affiliated to the IRFB, became known as rugby union.
The need for a single body to oversee association football had become apparent by the beginning of the 20th century, with the increasing popularity of international fixtures.
The English Football Association had chaired many discussions on setting up an international body, but was perceived as making no progress.
It fell to associations from seven other European countries: The French name and acronym has remained, even outside French-speaking countries.
Rugby league rules diverged significantly from rugby union in , with the reduction of the team from 15 to 13 players. In , a New Zealand professional rugby team toured Australia and Britain, receiving an enthusiastic response, and professional rugby leagues were launched in Australia the following year.
However, the rules of professional games varied from one country to another, and negotiations between various national bodies were required to fix the exact rules for each international match.
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