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Game's birthplace still flourishing

Football has spread irresistibly since the English Football Association was founded in 1863.
Game's birthplace still flourishing
Bobby Moore holds aloft the FIFA World Cup after England's 4-2 final success against West Germany ©Getty Images

Game's birthplace still flourishing

Football has spread irresistibly since the English Football Association was founded in 1863.

The English Football Association (FA) was founded in 1863 when the chief clubs and schools playing their own versions of football met to form an association for the purpose of framing a set of official rules under which all could play the game. Uniformity was the aim. The FA Cup, international football, professionalism and league competition followed. From there, football has spread irresistibly all over the world.

The FA's influence increased significantly after a Challenge Cup was established in 1871. Within a decade, the original membership of 12 clubs had increased to 128. Wanderers, a team set up by ex-public school and university players, won the first FA Cup final 1-0 against Royal Engineers at Kennington Oval in London in 1872. From 1923 to 2000 the match was played at Wembley before moving to Cardiff for six years while the new Wembley was being built. The FA Cup is one of England's great sporting institutions.

The first international games were those played between England and Scotland in the 1870s. A crowd of 4,000 watched the first official international in Glasgow in 1872. It was not until 1908, when an England side toured central Europe, that teams from outside Britain were encountered.

The FA was represented at a FIFA meeting for the first time in 1906, but withdrew in 1920 because it refused to be associated with certain countries, before rejoining in 1924. However, it dropped out again four years later in a dispute over FIFA's definition of amateurism.

The FA renewed its FIFA ties in 1946, and an England team competed in its maiden FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 1950. Bobby Charlton played a crucial role in England's re-emergence as a world football power in the 1960s, alongside team-mates of the calibre of Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters. Ably managed by Alf Ramsey, England won the World Cup in 1966. Since that great day at Wembley, there have been two appearances in UEFA European Championship semi-finals (1968 in Italy, and 1996 on home soil), and one in a World Cup semi-final (1990 in Italy).

Down the years, England has produced further fine players of the quality of Sir Stanley Matthews, Sir Tom Finney, Duncan Edwards, Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne, Peter Shilton, Glenn Hoddle and Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.

Club sides have also performed with great distinction in European competition, with the following winners:
European Champion Clubs' Cup: Liverpool FC (five), Manchester United FC (three), Nottingham Forest FC (two), Aston Villa FC, Chelsea FC.
UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League: Liverpool (three), Tottenham (two), Ipswich Town FC, Chelsea and Manchester United.
European Cup Winners' Cup: Tottenham Hotspur FC, West Ham United FC, Manchester City FC, Chelsea (twice), Everton FC, Manchester United and Arsenal FC.
UEFA Women's Cup/UEFA Women's Champions League: Arsenal LFC

Initially, the FA maintained a strictly amateur outlook, and its authority remained in the balance until it decided to legalise professionalism in 1885. The association has been a limited company since 1903. It has consolidated its reputation as the world's senior football administration, adding greatly to its activities over the decades.


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Greg Dyke

Greg Dyke

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 20 May 1947
Association president since: 2013

• Greg Dyke has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in journalism and broadcasting, most notably rising to become director general of the BBC having also been managing director of London Weekend Television and chairman of ITV Sport. He remains chairman of both the British Film Institute and Europe’s largest theatre group ATG.

• He has been Chancellor of the University of York since 2004 and retains strong links with his boyhood club Brentford FC. He was non-executive Chairman from 2006 until beginning his role with The Football Association in July 2013 while he was also a director of Manchester United FC in the late 1990s.

• Upon becoming independent chairman of The Football Association, Dyke’s first act was to visit The FA’s national football centre at St. George’s Park where he spoke of making “thoughtful changes which will benefit the England team”. Having played football all his life, he still turns out occasionally in six-a-side games on Thursday evenings.

General secretary


Martin Glenn

Martin Glenn

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 8 July 1960
Association CEO since: May 2015

• Martin Glenn is a veteran of industry and built up a reputation for making popular British brands competitive and international in their reach. He has won a series of awards in the marketing field.

• An FA-qualified grassroots coach, Glenn is also a former Leicester City FC non-executive director, and sat on the club’s board between 2002 and 2006. In addition to his love for football, his personal experience of operating in highly competitive global markets, in particular as a CEO, is considered as key in assisting The FA in its own drive to promote success for England’s national teams, and to shape and deliver the association’s strategic priorities for the years ahead.

• "I am incredibly proud to have been chosen to play my part in shaping the future direction of The FA,” Glenn said on his appointment in March 2015.

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