Futbol being the most popular sport in the world, is bound to have an interesting story on how it emerged to its current form of glory. Futbol in this aspect delivers quite well. In its present form, futbol truly emerged in the mid-19th Century in England.
Alternatively, some versions of futbol existed sometime earlier, and these versions can also be considered major contributors to the history of futbol. The original variants of futbol were developed in many ancient civilizations: the Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Greeks, Persians, Vikings, English, and more. That’s why it is not possible to determine precisely the “origin” of futbol. One thing is for sure, these ball games have a certain similarity, and possible influence with modern futbol.
Mob Football in 1066-1400AD
While this variant of futbol was less connected to present day futbol mechanics compared to other versions, it is still seen by many as the likely original futbol game. The term for this game, Football, used in many countries seems to first stem from this variant as well as being used in its secondary names such as ‘Shrovetide Football,’, and ‘Folk Football’. Overall, mob football is what this game is known as, and for good reason. In mob football England towns would compete by setting two goals, and having pretty much every member of their community go out there, and do anything possible to get the ball through the other goal. As you might expect many injuries, and often many deaths occurred from this game. It got so bad that King of England, Edward the II, attempted banning the game. Of course, as can be seen by futbol’s now abundant success, he failed miserably. Naturally put together, the title Mob futbol more than adequately represents the chaos, and brutality it brings. Plus the frequent nature of the game having no rules it is fitting.
The old Mesoamerican cultures are the creators of the first known team game that involved a ball, or in this case rock. Now, again this didn’t involve kicking but was still influential. The beginning of this game occurred roughly 3000 years ago. For them this game had a much deeper meaning. They saw the ball as a symbol for the sun, and thought of matches so highly that the team captain of the team that lost, was sacrificed to the ancient gods.
The ball game which was first known featuring kicking a ball, originated out of China. This occurred during the second, and third century B.C., and it was popularly known as Cuju. Cuju was played using a ball which was round on a square pitch. Later, it spread to other countries like Japan, and was practiced often during ceremonial functions.
Other previous varieties of futbol had been known to have originated from Ancient Greece. They used a “more modern” ball which was made up of leather shreds filled with hair. In the 7th century, the first information about balls inflated with air was published. The entertainments in Ancient Rome however, were excluded in all forms except for use in military exercises. The Roman culture was what would bring this variant of futbol into the island of Britain (Britannica). It is not certain to which degree the people of Britain were swayed by this variant however.
Like that the pre-futbol sports era was over. Though, the story of futbol was just beginning. We have 3 other parts for the history of futbol. If you are interested in learning more you can now move onto part 2 where futbol takes it form.
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