History: See When Football Was Discovered, Who Made The Discovery, How It Started And Where

Football has grown to be a global phenomenon. It is no longer in doubt that the round leather game is the king of the sporting activities. The FIFA World Cup today is among the most followed sporting activity, dwarfing even the Olympics which used to own that honor.


Right before football became what it is today, history records that the game has existed in prior forms earlier. 

• AZTEC Empire

According to some history texts, the Aztecs were notably among the first group of people to introduce a round rubber game which they used to play their own form of what will later become known as football today. At this time though, it is noted that no other civilization had access to rubber. However, it is alleged that the Aztec game was more ritualistic in nature due to the repercussions for the captain of the losing team in certain times.


China is also historically believed to be one of the pioneers of football and adopted an early form of the round leather game called “Cuju” around 206 BC.

From available literature, the Chinese Cuju game didn’t allow the use of hand in a match, and was prevalent during the Han Dynasty. Cuju means ‘kick ball’.


As they already point to, it is a Greek name. Unlike Cuju, episkyros allowed the participants to use both hands and feet for the game.

Like other sporting activities of it’s time, it was also noted to be rough and violent.


There is also reference to the Roman empire in the history of football. In some quarters, the Romans are credited to have influenced Britannica in some way through Harpastum and helped shape the future of the popular game of football we have today. Harpastum was noted to be popular among some Roman Legions.


Modern football as we know it today has it’s origin set in England. Though it has been noted that no one individual can be said to have discovered the beautiful game, Englishman Ebenezer Morley have been mentioned in some quarters as a big pioneer in Britain. This stems from the fact that a letter he wrote will later lead to the codification of football governing laws in the United Kingdom. According to historical records, 12 club’s sent representatives to the meeting which took place on October 26, 1863.

In some texts, it is noted that there usually were two rules of playing the game. On the one hand, the rule will permit the use of both hands and feet to play the game – rugby. On the other hand, the rules simply outlawed the use of hands – football or soccer. Although there were earlier rules like the Sheffield and Cambridge football rules, the meeting will later be the beginning of codified rules for what we know today as football or soccer (USA and Canada). The rules will go on to differentiate football from rugby which also shared similarities and history with round leather kicking performed usually by a group of persons with assigned roles.

By the 1860’s, football has crossed the shores of Europe and is noted to have been carried along by British citizens and introduced in Argentina. This will later metamorphose into the South American football culture we all know today, made even better by the football rivalry between Argentina and Brazil which have produced the worlds best footballers over the years.

When FIFA was first formed 41yrs after the Football Association was formed, the United Kingdom didn’t join. However, they later joined the next year but never participated in the first world cup and subsequent ones till 1950. England will go on to win FIFA World Cup in 1960.

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