The evolution of the game of football took place in Britain. The game that thrived in the British Isles took the shape of the modern day sports of association football, rugby football and, in Ireland, Gaelic football. Initially football was a more disorganised game played by indefinite number of players.
Kicking the ball was usually allowed, apart from the cases in which the size and weight of the sphere being used was too much. The size and weight of the ball were finally standardised in 1863. Till then this decision was made by the parties concerned at the time of arranging the match. There are numerous theories concerning the origin of the game of football such as (i) the game is Anglo-Saxon in origin, (ii) the game originated in the third century during the victory celebrations that followed a battle against the Romans etc. Apart from this another theory states that when 'mob football' was being played in the British Isles during the early centuries AD, an identical game was flourishing in France. It is quite possible that the Normans brought this form of the game to England along with them. Footballers derived a lot of inspiration and strength from the pagan customs, especially fertility rites. In the game of football, the ball is symbolic of the sun which needs to be conquered so as to secure a bountiful harvest. A kind of similar significance was attached to contests between married men and bachelors that prevailed for centuries in some parts of England. Although there are varying conflicting views on the origin of the game of football, yet one thing is clear that football has beautifully flourished over almost thousand years in Britain.
By: Anuja Arora