We explain the history of football, its origins, and variants in various cultures. Also, the best players in history.
What is the history of football?
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is practiced in practically all the countries of the world, which meet every four years to dispute the world cup and maintain their different regular leagues throughout the year.
It is estimated that soccer has around 250 million players worldwide, and it mobilizes 1,800 million interested parties and fans around the globe. It is one of the Olympic sports, and its international leadership is exercised by the International Federation of Football Associations (or FIFA, for its acronym in French).
The ancient origins of this sport are uncertain, but in the third-century a. C. in China, a similar joke was practiced. In this remote antecedent of soccer, the soldiers of the Han Dynasty practiced an exercise called such Kúh (also called juju or tsu chu), which consisted of throwing a ball with their feet toward a small net. In some variants, the player had to do it while defending against the physical attack of their rivals.
Centuries later, there were practices more similar to modern football, such as the Japanese kemari, of a more ceremonial type, in which a ball had to be kept in the air for as long as possible, passing it between players without using their hands.
There were also western variants, such as the Greek episkyros and the Roman haspastrum, about which very little information is known. It is also learned today that the ancient Mesoamerican peoples practiced something similar, called Pok ta Pok, about 3,000 years ago and that the North American aborigines did the same, although they called it pasuckuakohowog.
However, it is unlikely that these ancient sports directly influenced modern football. The closest thing in European history is the “ball games” played by young British and French (the latter under the soul’s name). In the carnivals, its practice was common in the British Isles, occasions in which an entire town could participate.
The Italians had the most apparent precedent, the Florentine calcium, less violent than its British variants and more organized than the French, consisting of two teams of 27 players. It was practiced from the 16th century, and in 1580 Giovanni Bardi presented the first formal set of rules.
Properly speaking, the modern history of football began in Great Britain in the 19th century, when the first unifying rules of carnival football emerged, starting to be practiced in collegiate associations outside of the festivities. In fact, in 1863, the Cambridge tuition rules of the game were the basis of the current code of regulations, also taking directions from the Sheffield game mode.
Thus, with the regulation of just 13 rules, modern football was promoted by the newly created Football Association (FA). There also came, although some years later, the term soccer, derived from “association” and the suffix -er, and also the first league competition in history, the Football League, in 1888. Its purpose was to raise sufficient funds to professionalize the FA players.
Towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, English-style football spread throughout Europe and then to other continents, partly thanks to the European colonial system and commercial exchange with the recent American republics.
The first American soccer league was Argentina, founded in 1891, and the first international match outside Europe was played between Argentina and Uruguay in 1901. On the other hand, economic conditions in Asia prevented soccer from leaving the mere university level until it entered the 80s of the 20th century.
In 1904, in Paris, the Fédération Internationale e Football Association (FIFA) was founded by football representatives from 8 different countries: France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany. It aimed to manage European fixtures not linked to Great Britain and Ireland, who initially rejected the existence of a world soccer body.
The first football world cup in history was played in 1930, which became the biggest football event in the entire globe. They then emerged to the Intercontinental Cup in 1960, the South American Copa Libertadores, and the European Champions League. Women’s football emerged professionally after the First World War when female participation in society and at work increased.