The Birth of Football

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Who invented football? The ancient Greeks, the Italians, the Brazilians, a group of villagers rampaging through rural South America? No, the English, and they invented it in Cambridge in 1848. This is the story of how the world's most popular sport was born. It was at Cambridge University that football first became football. Every student who went to study at the university took with him the rules by which his old school had played the game. Some allowed hacking, some embraced carrying the ball, and in others the mob prevailed. When they ran out together on the city's Parker's Piece, chaos ensued. In 1848, a meeting was called to address the problem. Delegates sat down at 4pm and by five to midnight they had agreed the 'Cambridge Rules'. These rules are still at the core of the modern code in use today. Tracing the story from Cambridge to London, Malcolm Walker charts the six tempestuous meetings that saw the formation of the FA and the final decision that formally founded the game: association football would allow no hacking, tripping or handling the ball - it would be, as the committee put it, the triumph of 'skill over force'. At the news that players would no longer be allowed to pick up the ball and run with it several committee members resigned. (They were to form the Rugby Union in 1871.) This is a story of feuding and vested interests populated by extraordinary characters. It is a blow-by-blow account of the machinations and wrangling that marked football's difficult birth.

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£20.00  £18.60
The History Press Ltd
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