Association football is the world's most popular sport, and is worth US$600 billion worldwide. By the end of the 20th century it was played by over 250 million players in over 200 countries. Around the world, the sport is played at a professional level by professional footballers, and millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favourite football teams, while billions more watch the sport on television or on the internet. Football has the highest global television audience in sport. The sport had amateur origins and evolved into the modern professional competition.
Association football was first codified in 1863, with the formation of the Football Association (FA) in England. At this time the sport was played mainly by public schools, or teams with public school roots, and amateurism was the norm. This remained the case until the 1880s, when working-class teams began to vie for supremacy. Blackburn Olympic, a team composed mainly of factory workers, won the 1883 FA Cup Final.They were the first working-class team to win the competition since its inception in 1870. Though professionalism was not permitted, Olympic arranged jobs for their players, and supplemented their income with additional payments, a common occurrence among Lancashire clubs.
The differences between the amateur idealists from southern England and the increasingly professionalised teams from northern industrial towns came to a head in 1884. After Preston North End won an FA Cup match against Upton Park, the Londoners protested, seeking the result to be overturned due to the presence of paid players in the Preston ranks. This sparked a series of events which threatened to split the FA. Preston withdrew from the competition, and fellow Lancashire clubs Burnley and Great Lever followed suit. The protest gathered momentum, to the point where more than 30 clubs, predominantly from the north, announced that they would set up a rival British Football Association if the FA did not permit professionalism.18 months later the FA relented, and in July 1885 professionalism was formally legalised in England.
Though English clubs employed professionals, the Scottish Football Association continued to forbid the practice. Consequently, many Scottish players migrated southward. At first the FA put residential restrictions in place to prevent this, but these were abandoned by 1889.In the inaugural season of the Football League (1888–89), champions Preston North End fielded ten Scottish professionals. The Scottish FA lifted its ban on professionalism in 1893, whereupon 560 players were registered as professionals.
This table details the year in which professionalism was introduced, country by country.
|England||1885||Football League, first professional league, formed 1888|
|United States||1894||The American League of Professional Football was created by team owners from the National League to compete during professional baseball's off-season. It lasted only one season.|
|Austria||1924||First fully professional league in continental Europe|
|Italy||1926||it:Carta di Viareggio|
|Mexico||1927||Year when the national team turned professional. Mexico's first professional league was formed in 1943.|
|Brazil||1933||São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro state leagues.|
See also Professional sports#Association football
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of 11 players. It is played by approximately 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.
Sir Walter Winterbottom was the first manager of the England football team (1946–1962) and FA Director of Coaching. He resigned from the FA in 1962 to become General Secretary of the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR) and was appointed as the first Director of the Sports Council in 1965. He was knighted for his services to sport in 1978 when he retired. The Football Association marked the 100th anniversary of Winterbottom's birth by commissioning a bust which was unveiled by Roy Hodgson at St Georges Park on 23 April 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of English football.
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William McGregor was a Scottish association football administrator in the Victorian era who is regarded as the founder of the Football League, the first organised association football league in the world.
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Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is rooted in medieval ball games and English public school games. The modern game of association football originated with mid-nineteenth century efforts among local football clubs to the standardize varying sets of rules, culminating in formation of The Football Association in London, England in 1863. The rules drafted by the association allowed clubs to play each other without dispute and which specifically banned handling of the ball and hacking during open field play. After the fifth meeting of the association a schism emerged between association football and the rules played by the Rugby school, later to be called rugby football. Football has been an Olympic sport ever since the second modern Summer Olympic Games in 1900.
The 1872 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 16 March 1872 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the final of the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup, which became the primary cup competition in English football and the oldest football competition in the world. Fifteen teams entered the competition in its first season and, due to the rules in place at the time, Wanderers reached the final having won only one match in the four preceding rounds. In the semi-finals, they drew with the Scottish club Queen's Park, but reached the final when the Scots withdrew from the competition as they could not afford to return to London for a replay.
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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to association football:
the game is complex enough not to be invented independently by many preliterate cultures and yet simple enough to become the world's most popular team sport
During the twentieth century, soccer emerged as the world's most popular team sport
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