Who Invented Football and When?

September 30, 2020
people gathering at football field

One of the most widely played and enjoyed games that ever took the stage of sports is football. This game-changing sport that had hit the world sphere at quite early has for long thrived and spread all over, ever since its invention. It is mostly a game involving a great deal of team spirit.

In various countries all over the world, football is used synonymously to a wide variety of sports. Even though the basic concept and ideology of the game remain almost the same in various countries, certain modifications or changes as such have been accorded by various countries to varying degrees. While some countries may refer to it as association football or soccer, some may refer to the game as gridiron football (termed explicitly as American football or Canadian football). Some countries may term it as Rugby football. Furthermore, quite a few countries are also found to refer to the game as Gaelic football.

These varied forms of the originally same game football, are found to draw on to some extent from the common roots and origin. These common origins are collectively referred to as the ‘Football codes.’

Early History of Football

It is claimed that the origin of football dates back to as far as the 2500 B.C. with the Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, and the Romans, who played a game involving the feet and a ball. Of all these ancient games, the most significant seems to be the Chinese game named ‘Tsu-Chu’ which may be translated into ‘kicking the ball’. This game came into existence during the reign of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.).

It involved players kicking around a small ball of leather, into a net that was strung between two bamboo poles. Players were allowed to use their feet, but not their hands. From this concept of the game, the Japanese, the Native Americans, and the indigenous Australians, all evolved their version of football, which was also centered around the feet.

Modern History of Football

Going back through the pages in history, one shall quickly come across numerous references made to a varied number of traditional, ancient, or even prehistoric ball games in various countries all over the globe. However, while tracing down the new codes of playing football, one shall stumble across the codification of the game done at various English public schools, back in the 19th century.

With the growing expansion and spread of the British Empire, traditions and cultures of various countries got interpolated and intermeshed. The codes of the game thereby spread its reaches to even countries outside the British Empire. The end of the 19th century saw the emergence of distinct regional codes of playing football reflecting the codes of the British football games in them, for example, the rise and development of the Gaelic football, which incorporated the rules of local traditional football games. This was done to hold on to the heritage.

In England, in the year 1888, the Football League was founded. It thereby became one of the first-ever professional football competitions, ever played. While in the 20th century, varied kinds of football grew up to secure the position of popular team games all over the world.


With the sphere of football growing over the past few decades, a large number of people are found to indulge in watching it. Football has grown to become one of the most favored sports amongst a large number of youngsters today, and the growth seems to be everlasting.

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