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 issue of professionalism arose in 1880 when a dispute began between the FA and Bolton Wanderers (founded in 1874), who had unofficially offered professional terms to Scottish players. Scottish players who played in England professionally were known as the Scotch Professors. The subject remained a heated one through the 1880s, directly or indirectly involving many other clubs besides Bolton. Their neighbours, Blackburn Rovers (founded in 1875) and Darwen (founded in 1870) had also signed Scottish players on a 'shamateur' basis using side jobs, either real or fabricated, to facilitate payment. The FA espoused the ideal of amateurism promoted by the likes of Corinthian F.C. from whom the phrase “Corinthian Spirit” came into being.
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, withdrawing their clubs from the FA Cup in protest against the development, temporarily in 1885 then permanently in 1887.Consequently, many Scottish players migrated southward (although it also meant they were forbidden from playing for the Scotland national team). At first the FA put residential restrictions in place to prevent this trend, but these were abandoned by 1889. In the inaugural season of the Football League (1888–89), champions Preston North End fielded ten Scottish professionals.
One of the teams to benefit from the move of Scottish players to England was Sunderland, located close to the border. The club went professional in 1885, and the club recruited a number of Scotsmen the same year, their first internationally capped players.Founder James Allan left Sunderland in 1888 because of his dislike for the "professionalism" that had been creeping into the club, and subsequently formed Sunderland Albion. The wealthy mine owner Samuel Tyzack funded the professional advancement of the club, often pretending to be a priest while scouting for players in Scotland, as Sunderland's recruitment policy enraged many Scottish fans who supported the amateur ethos. In fact, the entire Sunderland lineup in the 1895 World Championship was made up of Scottish players. On 5 April 1890, the Football League's founder, William McGregor, labelled Sunderland as "the team of all talents" stating that they had "a talented man in every position".
Preston North End, the first English team to win the Championship and Cup "double" in 1889, did so with a majority of their team being made up of Scottish players. In the first season, they went undefeated both in the league and the FA Cup, which led to them being known as "the invincibles."
The Scottish Football League launched on an amateur basis in 1890 but the nation's most famous club and founders of both the passing and international game, Queen's Park, initially refused to participate as they predicted that professionalism would follow. This suspicion proved correct, with bans issued to clubs for making payments or playing against others who had, and clear indicators that the likes of newly-formed Celtic's accumulation of some of the best talent in the country involved unofficial financial incentives. Faced with this, the Scottish FA lifted its ban on professionalism in 1893, whereupon 560 players were registered as professionals;however, despite the distinction of status between the home players and the England-based players having been removed, it was another three years before the SFA allowed 'Anglos' to play for the national team, prompted by poor results in the British Home Championship. Queen's Park remained outside the league until 1900, and remained committed to the amateur principles even after entering into competition with professional clubs. They never claimed another major trophy, but remained an amateur club until January 2020.
In the Soviet Union and the Communist block, athletes were written down as amateurs, even if they were de facto professional. Football clubs were no exception, and they were mostly linked to trade unions or government offices, with players being written down as workers of those particular industries. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, clubs and players officially gained the professional status.
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.|
|Belgium||1974||Start of the "Liga Beroepsvoetbal" (self-uniting organisation of Belgian teams proceeding with full-time professional football)|
|Philippines||2017||The Philippines Football League is the first professional league in the country.|
See also Professional sports#Association football
Association football, more commonly known as simply 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 more goals than the opposition by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal, usually within a time frame of 90 or more minutes.
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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Women's association football, usually known as women's football or women's soccer, and colloquially WOSO, is the team sport of association football when played by women's teams only. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally. The history of women's football has seen major competitions being launched at both the national and international levels.
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Blackburn Olympic Football Club was an English football club based in Blackburn, Lancashire in the late 19th century. Although the club was only in existence for just over a decade, it is significant in the history of football in England as the first club from the north of the country and the first from a working-class background to win the country's leading competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. The cup had previously been won only by teams of wealthy amateurs from the Home counties, and Olympic's victory marked a turning point in the sport's transition from a pastime for upper-class gentlemen to a professional sport.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is rooted in ancient sports such as Tsu' Chu played in Han Dynasty China and Kemari invented some 500-600 years later in Japan. Similar games existed in ancient Greece and Rome although little details remain of their rules or organisation. The more recent development of modern day association football has its origins in medieval ball games and English public school games. The modern game of association football originated with mid-nineteenth century efforts between local football clubs to standardize the 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 specifically banned both 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 sport of association football has a long history in England.
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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
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and is an industry worth over US$400 billion world wide. 80% of this is generated in Europe, though its popularity is growing in the United States. It has been estimated that there were 22 million soccer players in the world in the early 1980s, and that number is increasing. In the United States soccer is now a major sport at both the high school and college levels