Football is the most popular sport in the European continent and parts of America, oh scratch that, football is the most popular sport in the world, no wait it is a religion.
Its origin dates back to Han dynasty in 3rd century BC where leather balls were filled with feathers and kicked around. In Greece, a sport called “Episkyros” was played in which there were no rules as such besides the rule of kicking the ball into a net (they took the saying that there is just one rule very seriously.) The game had no particular size of field or number of players at that time so yeah there have been times when team had entire clans as their on field squad, wasn’t very different from war in those times.
The modern day soccer or football as most of the world calls it, was mainly popularized in England when it became popular in public schools. However, they put a ban on it due to the level of violence and fierceness indulged in the game. Serious injuries and grudges were part of the game. Thus King Edward II had to proclaim in Parliament saying that no football shall be played. Football was still popular and equally dangerous and therefor even his successors King Edward III and King Edward IV proclaimed the same law and outlawed the sport.
Still with the growing craziness and zeal about this sport even among military men, some of the representatives of London club from colleges and school met to decide some ground rules while playing against each other, this led to more international matches being played which in turn required a governing body. The home nations unanimously rejected such a body and so the nations of continental Europe made their own governing body and thus FIFA was born in Paris.
FIFA brought an entire charter of rules and regulations governing the sport of football. Some of the new rules were not taken kindly by the home associations. FIFA prohibited the handling of ball by anyone except the goalkeeper. The balls were changed into lighter material and players were provided with safety guards. The length of the Football field was decided to 110 – 120 yards long to 70-80 yards wide. The number of players was restricted to 11 on field and rest on bench. The duration of the match was set to 90 minutes with a half-time.
Football was very rare in the times of WW-I and FIFA was on the verge of collapsing but for one man Mr. Hirschmann who single handedly saved FIFA from being buried in the forgotten pages of history.
The first tournament that FIFA helped organize was not the world cup but the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris where fans thronged to see the final between Uruguay and Switzerland. Owing to the success in Paris the first World Cup was organized in Uruguay. The tournament did not see many European teams because of the cost of travel and long absence required from club football. The club vs country debate was both ripe and rife even then, but 4 teams from Europe did make it to Uruguay. The host defeated their arch rivals Argentina in the final in a match watched by 93000 fans and football had truly arrived, rest they say is history.
In today’s time there are many different leagues all over the world. The most popular are the English Premier League and the Champions league in which the clubs play against each other every year for the title. These are followed by the most popular event watched all over the world – The FIFA WORLD CUP.
In the same time FIFA has become the one of the strongest organization in the world, I wouldn’t write more about them (I do not want to have to face their wrath) so would let Mr. John Oliver’s words tell you more about FIFA so have look.
The game might be brutal, violent, tiring but the adrenaline rush which it gives to the players and the fans is just enthralling. No wonder it is the most played sport across the globe and is considered a religion across the globe.