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The British Home Championship [a] was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the last of whom competed as Ireland for most of the competition's history). Starting during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international football tournament and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The England national football team represents England in senior men's international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England.
By the early 1880s, the development of football in the United Kingdom was gathering pace and the four national football teams of the UK were playing regular friendlies against each other, with nearly every team playing all the others annually. At the time, the football associations of each Home Nation (The Football Association (England), the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association) had slightly different rules for football, and when matches were played the rules of whoever was the home team were used. While this solution was workable, it was hardly ideal. To remedy this, the four associations met in Manchester on 6 December 1882 and agreed on one uniform set of worldwide rules. They also established the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to approve changes to the rules (a task that it still performs).
Association football is organised on a separate basis in each of the four constituent countries that make up the United Kingdom (UK), with each having a national football association responsible for the overall management of football within their respective country. There is no United Kingdom national football team. Football has been the most popular sport in the UK since the 1860s. Rugby union, rugby league and cricket are other popular sports.
The Home Nations, or Home Countries, refer collectively to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and in certain sports include the whole island of Ireland. The term "Home Nations" is used in this second sense partly because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have a unified association structure in certain sports, such as the Irish Rugby Football Union and Cricket Ireland. Formerly, the term was applied in general in this same wider sense, such as the period between 1801 and 1922, when the whole island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. The synonymous "Home Countries" is also sometimes used.
The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England, the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.
The new rules meant that formal international competitions could now easily be devised. Thus, at the same meeting, the associations formalised the annual friendlies and the British Home Championship – the world's first international football competition – was born.
The Championship was held every football season, starting with the 1883–84 season (the first ever match seeing eventual winners Scotland beat Ireland 5–0 away on 24 January 1884). The dates of the fixtures varied, but they tended to bunch towards the end of the season (sometimes the entire competition was held in a few days at the end of the season), except between the World Wars, when some fixtures were played before Christmas. The rise of other international competitions, especially the World Cup and European Championships, meant that the British Home Championship lost a lot of its prestige as the years went on.
The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
However, the new international tournaments meant that the Championship took on added importance in certain years. The 1949–50 and 1953–54 Championships doubled up as qualifying groups for the 1950 and 1954 World Cups respectively and the results of the 1966–67 and 1967–68 Championships were used to determine who went forward to the second qualifying round of Euro '68.
The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July 1950, was the fourth FIFA World Cup. It was the first World Cup since 1938, the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been cancelled due to World War II. It was won by Uruguay, who had won the inaugural competition in 1930. They clinched the cup by beating the hosts Brazil 2–1 in the deciding match of the four-team final group. This was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final. It was also the first tournament where the trophy was referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Jules Rimet's presidency of FIFA.
The 1954 FIFA World Cup, the fifth staging of the FIFA World Cup, was held in Switzerland from 16 June to 4 July. Switzerland was chosen as hosts in July 1946. The tournament set a number of all-time records for goal-scoring, including the highest average number of goals scored per game. The tournament was won by West Germany, who defeated Hungary 3–2 in the final, giving them their first title.
The British Home Championship was discontinued after the 1983–84 competition. There were a number of reasons for the tournament's demise, including it being overshadowed by the World Cup and European Championships, falling attendances at all but the England v Scotland games, fixture congestion, the rise of hooliganism, the Troubles in Northern Ireland (civil unrest led to the 1980–81 competition being abandoned), and England's desire to play against 'stronger' teams. The fate of the competition was settled when the (English) Football Association, swiftly followed by the Scottish Football Association, announced in 1983 that they would not be entering after the 1983–84 Championship. The British Home Championship trophy remains the property of the Irish FA, as Northern Ireland were the most recent champions.
Football hooliganism or soccer hooliganism is the term used to describe disorderly, violent or destructive behaviour perpetrated by spectators at association football events.
The Troubles was an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles primarily took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".
The Championship was replaced by the smaller Rous Cup, which involved just England, Scotland and, in later years, an invited guest team from South America. That competition, however, ended after just five years.
The Rous Cup was a short-lived football competition in the second half of the 1980s, contested between England, Scotland and, in later years, a guest team from South America.
Since then, there have been many proposals to resurrect the British Home Championship, with advocates pointing to rising attendances and a significant downturn in football-related violence. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations are keen on the idea, but the English association are less enthusiastic, claiming that they agree in principle, but that fixture congestion makes a revived tournament impractical.
Therefore, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association, with the Republic of Ireland's Football Association of Ireland, pressed ahead and organised a tournament similar to the British Home Championship. The Nations Cup, between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was launched in Dublin in 2011. It was discontinued after one tournament because of poor attendance.
Each team played every other team once (making for a total of three matches per team and six matches in total). Generally, each team played either one or two matches at home and the remainder away, with home advantage between two teams alternating each year (so if England played Scotland at home one year, they played them away the next).
A team received two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. From these points, a league table was constructed and whoever was top at the end of the competition was declared the winner. If two or more teams were equal on points, that position in the league table was shared (as was the Championship if it occurred between the top teams). In 1956, all four teams finished level on points and for the only time the Championship was shared four ways. From the 1978–79 Championship onwards, however, goal difference (total goals scored minus total goals conceded) was used to differentiate between teams level on points. If goal difference could still not separate them, then total goals scored was used.
The Scotland v England match of 5 April 1902 became known as the Ibrox Disaster of 1902. The match took place at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow. During the first half, a section of the terracing in the overcrowded West Stand collapsed, killing 26 and injuring over 500. Play was stopped, but was restarted after 20 minutes, with most of the crowd not knowing what had happened. The match was later declared void and replayed at Villa Park, Birmingham.
The 1950 British Home Championship was used as a qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, with the teams finishing both first and second qualifying. England and Scotland were guaranteed the top two places and World Cup qualification with one match to go, when the Scottish Football Association declared that it would only go to the 1950 World Cup if they were the British champions. Scotland played England at Hampden Park on 15 April in the final game and lost 1–0 to a goal by Chelsea's Roy Bentley. Scotland finished second and withdrew from what would have been their first-ever World Cup appearance.
The 1966–67 British Home Championship was the first since England's victory at the World Cup 1966. Naturally, England were favourites for the Championship title. In the end, the outcome of the entire Championship rested on the final game: England v Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London on 15 April. If England won or drew, they would win the Championship; if Scotland won, they would triumph. Scotland beat the World Cup winners 3–2. The match was followed by a large, but relatively harmless, pitch invasion by the jubilant Scottish fans, who were quick to waggishly declare Scotland the 'World Champions', as the game was England's first defeat since winning the World Cup. The Scots' joke ultimately led to the conception of the Unofficial Football World Championships.
Again, the 1976–77 Championship came down to the final game between England and Scotland at Wembley on 4 June. Scotland won the game 2–1, making them champions. As in 1967, a pitch invasion by the overjoyed Scottish fans followed, but this time extensive damage ensued: the pitch was ripped up (although it was going to be relaid after the game) and taken back to Scotland in small pieces to be laid in back gardens, along with one of the broken crossbars.
The Troubles in Northern Ireland had affected the British Home Championship before, with things turning so hostile that Northern Ireland often had to play their 'home' games in Liverpool or Glasgow. The entire 1980–81 Championship was held in May 1981, which coincided with a large amount of civil unrest in Northern Ireland surrounding the hunger strike in the Maze Prison. Northern Ireland's two home matches, against England and Wales, were not moved, so both teams refused to travel to Belfast to play. As not all the matches were completed, that year's competition was declared void with no winner; only Scotland completed all their matches. It was the only time in the Championship's history, apart from during World War I and World War II, that it was not awarded.
The Home Championships came to an end, with England and Scotland announcing that the 1983–84 British Home Championship would be their last. They cited waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism for their decision. The final match of the Championship was held at Hampden Park between Scotland and England in which the winners of the game would win the final Championship. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, allowing Northern Ireland to win the Championship on goal difference after all the teams ended on three points each; Wales came second on goals scored.
|1914–19||Not held due to the First World War|
|1939–45||Not held due to the Second World War|
|1980–81||Abandoned due to civil unrest in Northern Ireland|
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* Does not include the Home Victory Championship 1945–1946 & 1980–81 championship where Scotland was on top when tournament was cancelled because of Northern Ireland civil unrest.
The Scotland national football team represents Scotland in international football and is controlled by the Scottish Football Association. It competes in the three major professional tournaments, the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championship. Scotland, as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, is not a member of the International Olympic Committee and therefore the national team does not compete in the Olympic Games. The majority of Scotland's home matches are played at the national stadium, Hampden Park.
The Wales national football team represents Wales in international football. It is controlled by the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the governing body for football in Wales and the third-oldest national football association in the world.
No United Kingdom national football team exists, as there are separate teams representing each of the nations of the United Kingdom in international football.
The 1966–67 season was the 94th season of competitive football in Scotland and the 70th season of Scottish league football.
The history of the Scotland national football team dates back to the first ever international football match in 1872. Until the Second World War, Scotland mainly competed against the other Home Nations in the British Home Championship, with the most keenly contested fixture being the match with England. The Scottish Football Association, which governs the team, joined the international governing body FIFA in 1910, but along with the other Home Nations withdrew from FIFA in 1928. This meant that Scotland did not participate in the World Cups of 1930, 1934 or 1938. The Home Nations rejoined FIFA after the Second World War and Scotland then started to participate in international competitions. Scotland have since participated in eight World Cups and two European Championship tournaments, but have never progressed beyond the first stage. Scotland have not qualified for a tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
The 1983–84 British Home Championship was the 100th anniversary of the British Home Championship and the final football tournament between the Home Nations to be held, with both England and Scotland announcing their withdrawal from future competition, citing waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism. Although the football competition was instituted in 1884, it was only the eighty-seventh tournament to be completed due to a five-year hiatus during World War I, a seven-year gap in World War II and the cancellation of the 1981 competition following threats of violence during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
1949–50 British Home Championship was one of the most significant competitions of the British Home Championship football tournament. This year saw the competition doubling up as Group 1 in the qualifying rounds for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. It was the first time that either England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland (IFA) had entered a World Cup competition. It was also a significant moment in the history of Irish football as it was the last time that the (Northern) Irish Football Association entered a team featuring players born in both Northern Ireland and what is now the Republic of Ireland.
The 1980–81 British Home Championship was the only British Home Nations international football championship, other than the years of the First World War and Second World War, which was not completed and thus failed to produce a winner. As with the rugby union 1972 Five Nations Championship the cause of this cancellation was The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The championship was scheduled to be played in May 1981 after the end of the domestic season. On 5 May, however, the Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger strike leader Bobby Sands died in the Maze Prison, invoking a storm of protest and violence by republicans in Northern Ireland. Thus the English and Welsh FAs, whose teams were scheduled to travel to Windsor Park later in the month, declined to play, rendering the tournament incomplete and void.
The 1982–83 British Home Championship was the penultimate in the series of football tournaments between the British Home Nations which stretched back 99 years to 1884. In 1983 England and then Scotland announced their withdrawal from future competition after the 1984 competition with the arrangement of the Rous Cup between the two nations to eliminate Wales and Northern Ireland, who were seen as weaker opposition. The 1983 tournament was a tight contest, which England won with a final victory at home over Scotland following an opening victory over Wales and a draw in Belfast. The game at Wembley was played in midweek in an attempt to curb the large number of travelling Scottish supporters. The Scots came second with a win over Wales and a draw with Northern Ireland off-setting their final day defeat. The Welsh succumbed to goal difference as the points system then in use meant that the Irish, who had drawn twice and lost once without scoring themselves gained the same number of points for a smaller goal difference despite Wales' victory over them in their final game.
The 1929–30 British Home Championship was an edition of the annual international football tournament played between the British Home Nations. 1930 was the year in which the tournament finally gained a serious rival as the premier international football competition, with the inception of the 1930 FIFA World Cup, held in Uruguay. The Home Nations were not however members of FIFA due to disputes over the growing professionalism in continental and South American football. As a result, they were not able to attend and indicated that even if they were invited they would have no interest in attending, deeming foreign opposition too weak for serious contest. The England team, which dominated the 1930 championship, had lost to Spain the year before in the first defeat by a foreign football team, and in the same year they only managed draws with Germany and Austria. The Scottish side, which had won most of the previous ten championships, was likewise unprepared, only playing its first game outside the British Isles in 1929, and being heavily defeated on tour in 1931 by both the Austrians and the Italians.
The 1971–72 British Home Championship was the first such Home Nations football tournament, to suffer during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, when death threats from the Provisional Irish Republican Army were sent to the Scottish Football Association and Scottish players who were scheduled to play at Windsor Park. The surge in anti-British feeling which prompted these threats followed Bloody Sunday in January, and also resulted in the cancellation of the rugby union 1972 Five Nations Championship. As a result, Northern Ireland's home fixture was rescheduled to Hampden Park, effectively granting the Scottish team an extra home match. This was not the last time that The Troubles would interfere with the Home Championship; the 1981 British Home Championship would have to be abandoned following similar heightened tension after the death of Bobby Sands.
The 1952–53 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations throughout the 1952–53 season. The tournament saw a last minute goal by Lawrie Reilly in the final game at Wembley which salvaged a draw and thus a share in the trophy for Scotland. England were the other winners whilst both Wales and Ireland played well in a very competitive competition.
The 1958–59 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations. It came the year after the notable failure of England and Scotland to impress at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, for which all four nations qualified for the only time. Wales and Northern Ireland were the only achievers, both reaching the quarter-finals after playoffs.
The 1957–58 British Home Championship was a football tournament played between the British Home Nations during the 1957–58 season. The competition was marred by the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958, when an aircraft carrying the Manchester United football team home from a European Cup match in Belgrade crashed at the Munich-Riem airport on take-off. Eight players and fifteen other people, including an array of senior coaches, officials and sports journalists were killed and another nineteen seriously injured. Three of the dead, Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor and Duncan Edwards were experienced England team members while Jackie Blanchflower, an Ireland international, was left permanently disabled. Several other international footballers were also injured more or less severely. This tragedy rather subdued the tournament culmination two months later, although the England team did secure a cathartic 4–0 victory in Glasgow over the Scots with one of the goals coming from Bobby Charlton, who had been injured in the Munich crash.
The 1888–89 British Home Championship was the sixth international football tournament between the British Home Nations and as with all but one of the previous tournaments, Scotland won, beating England by one point to take the championship. Wales achieved third place whilst Ireland finished bottom, as they had for five of the previous competitions.
The 1902–03 British Home Championship was an international football tournament between the British Home Nations.
The England–Scotland football rivalry is a sports rivalry that exists between their respective national football teams. It is the oldest international fixture in the world, first played in 1872 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow. The history of the British Isles has led to much rivalry between the nations in many forms, and the social and cultural effects of centuries of antagonism and conflict between the two has contributed to the intense nature of the sporting contests. Scottish nationalism has also been a factor in the Scots' desire to defeat England above all other rivals, with Scottish sports journalists traditionally referring to the English as the "Auld Enemy".
The 2011 Nations Cup was the round-robin football tournament between the Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales national teams.
a. ^ Name of the Home Championship in the languages of participating countries: