Sunday, October 26, 2014

26 October 1863 - Not Just A Football Association, It's THE Football Association

On 26 October 1863, English football's governing body, the Football Association, held its first meeting, making it the oldest national football association in the world.

Twelve clubs sent representatives to the meeting, held at Freemasons' Tavern on Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, in order to agree on a common set of rules. The clubs were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone, No Names Club (Kilburn), Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington School, Percival House (Blackheath), Surbiton, Blackheath Proprietary School, and Charterhouse (who declined the offer to join).

Prior to the creation of the Football Association, football clubs in England operated under different sets of rules, including the Cambridge Rules, which were used by many clubs throughout the nation, and the Sheffield Rules, which dominated the northeast. Although those two sets of rules contained slight differences, they both prohibited hacking, which would prove to be a point of contention for the new FA.

Indeed, when the FA ultimately adopted a set of rules that closely mirrored the Cambridge Rules, several clubs chose to form a separate Rugby Football Union that allowed hacking. Thus the Football Association was instrumental in triggering the split between association football (or "soccer") and rugby.

The FA currently oversees all association football competitions in England and is in charge of the English men's and women's national teams. As the first football association in history, it is the only one not to include its nationality in its name.

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