Soccer The War Game! —Looking Back To Its Origin
Believe it or not, but the modern day soccer owes its origin to the barbarous war mongering nature of human beings.
There is no proper documentation that can state the date and place of origination of the most popular modern day sport—Soccer. However, depending on the socio-historical facts and data we can assume that some type of a ball game was played somewhere in this planet for at least over 3000years now.
The earliest evidence of soccer was found in Kyoto, Japan where a field marked to play a ball-kicking game was found.
There is also proper documentation that supports the fact that the Chinese military forces around 2nd and 3rd century BC (Han Dynasty) played a game that involved kicking a ball into a small net. This was then an essential skill building exercise for the armed forces.
Historical evidence also shows that some form of Soccer was played also by the Greeks and the Romans, however, the primitive form involved a larger team on each side. At times the team strength would go up even to around 27 people on each side. The Greeks were playing four different forms of the ball game, namely “Episkyros”, “Ourania”, “Pheninda” and “Keritizein”. Episkyros was the closest to football. In this 2 equally numbered teams, would try to throw the ball over the heads of the other team. There was a white line between the teams and another white line behind each team. Teams would change the ball often until one of the team is forced behind the line at their end.
Now, how many of you would believe that the modern day soccer actually originated as a war game?
Unbelievable, but true! The first Football (as Soccer is called in Britain) game was played by the locals of east of England, where they started a game, kicking around the severed head of a Danish prince whom they have defeated in a war. That marked the origination of Football as a war game.
After this, for a long time, football was played by rival towns and villages where the objective was to move the ball to a predetermined spot. Hundreds of people would take part in these games and a single game could last a whole day. Punching, kicking, biting , everything was allowed.
The savage nature of this form of football was not much appreciated by the rulers and the Royalty took all possible steps to stop these games. King Edward III of England, passed laws in 1331 to stop the game, he was followed by King James I of Scotland in 1424. The Queens were not far behind, rather, had a more strict approach. Queen Elizabeth I of England, enacted laws that could sentence a football player to jail for a week followed by penancing in a church.
However, in spite of all their best efforts and intentions they could not stop the game. It was too popular among the masses and they loved the game.
The first approach to regularize and give a civilized form to this game was taken by the famous Eton College of England in 1815 when they established a set of rules for the games. These rules were accepted by the other schools, colleges and universities. Later, in 1848, these rules were further standardized and a new version was adopted by all the schools, college and universities. This new set of rules was known as the Cambridge Rules.
At this stage, there were actually two set of rules that were being followed in this game. Some organizations preferred to follow the rules of the Rugby School, that allowed tripping, kicking and carrying the ball, whereas the Cambridge rules prohibited all this methods.
In October, 1863, The Football Association was formed, when eleven London schools and clubs came together to establish a single set of rules to administer any football match that were to be played among them. On 8 December 1863, Association Football and Rugby Football finally split onto two different organizations.
In 1869, these rules were further amended to exclude any handling of the ball beyond the scope of acceptability and that created the foundation for the modern day sports mania—SOCCER !