The Football Association, also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of football in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.
The FA sanctions all competitive football matches in England at national level, and indirectly at local level through the County Football Associations. It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the FA Cup. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men's, women's and youth national football teams.
The FA is a member of both UEFA and FIFA and holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is responsible for the laws of the game. As the first football association, it does not use the national name "English" in its title. The FA is based at Wembley Stadium, London.
All of England's professional football teams are members of the Football Association. Although it does not run the day-to-day operations of the Premier League, it has veto power over the appointment of the League Chairman and Chief Executive and over any changes to league rules.1 The Football League, made up of the professional leagues below the Premier League, is self-governing.
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For centuries before the first meeting of the Football Association in The Freemasons' Tavern on [Great Queen Street], London on 26 October 1863, there were no universally accepted rules for playing football. In each public school the game was formalised according to local conditions; but when the schoolboys reached university, chaos ensued when the players used different rules, so members of Cambridge University devised and published a set of Cambridge Rules in 1848 which was widely adopted. Another set of rules, the Sheffield Rules, was used by a number of clubs in the North of England from the 1850s.
11 London football clubs and schools representatives met in 26 October 1863 to agree common rules. The founding clubs present at the first meeting were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone (later to become Wanderers), N.N. (No Names) Club (Kilburn), the original Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington School, Perceval House (Blackheath), Surbiton and Blackheath Proprietary School; Charterhouse sent their captain, B.F. Hartshorne, but declined the offer to join.2 Many of these clubs are now defunct or play rugby union.
Central to the creation of the Football Association and modern football was Ebenezer Cobb Morley. He was a founding member of the Football Association in 1863. In 1862, as captain of the Mortlake-based club, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport that led to the first meeting at The Freemasons' Tavern that created the FA. He was the FA's first secretary (1863–66) and its second president (1867–74) and drafted the Laws of the Game generally called the "London Rules" at his home in Barnes, London. As a player, he played in the first ever match in 1863.
Photo of the original hand written 'Laws of the game' for association Football drafted for and behalf of The Football Association by Ebenezer Cobb Morley in 1863 on display at the National Football Museum
The first version of the rules for the modern game was drawn up over a series of six meetings held in The Freemasons' Tavern from October till December. At the final meeting, F. M. Campbell, the first FA treasurer and the Blackheath representative, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting, the first which allowed for the running with the ball in hand and the second, obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA but instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The term "soccer" dates back to this split to refer to football played under the "association" rules.
An inaugural game using the new FA rules was initially scheduled for Battersea Park on 2 January 1864, but enthusiastic members of the FA couldn't wait for the new year and an experimental game was played at Mortlake on 19 December 1863 between Morley's Barnes team and their neighbours Richmond (who were not members of the FA), ending in a goalless draw. The Richmond side were obviously unimpressed by the new rules in practice because they subsequently helped form the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The Battersea Park game was postponed for a week, and the first exhibition game using FA rules was played there on Saturday 9 January 1864. The members of the opposing teams for this game were chosen by the President of the FA (A. Pember) and the Secretary (E. C. Morley) and included many well-known footballers of the day.
After the first match according to the new FA rules a toast was given "Success to football, irrespective of class or creed".3
Charles Alcock(of Harrow School)of the Wanderers was elected to the committee of the FA in 1866, becoming its first full-time secretary and treasurer in 1870. He masterminded the creation of the Football Association Cup4—the longest-running association football competition in the world—in 1871. Fifteen participating clubs subscribed to purchase a trophy. The first Cup Final was held at The Oval on 16 March 1872, fought between the Wanderers and the Royal Engineers, watched by 2,000 spectators.
This competition was initially contested by mostly amateur teams but by the end of the 19th century it was dominated by professional teams that were mostly members of the Football League that had been founded in 1888 and expanded during the 1890s.
After many years of wrangling between the London Association and the Sheffield Football Association, the FA Cup brought the acceptance that one undisputed set of laws was required. The two associations had played 16 inter-association matches under differing rules; the Sheffield Rules, the London Rules and Mixed Rules. In April 1877, those laws were set with a number of Sheffield Rules being incorporated.
In 1992, the Football Association took control of the newly-created Premier League which consisted of 22 clubs who had broken away from the First Division of the Football League. The Premier League reduced to 20 clubs in 1995 and is one of the richest football leagues in the world.5
The Football Association are going to celebrate their 150th year by changing their logo. The new logo has retained the current logo's three lions but it would be in golden colour and also have "The FA" written above and also have "1863 150 years 2013" written below. It also has some writings of the laws of the game penned at the first meeting held at The Freemasons' Tavern.6
The FA's main commercial asset is its ownership of the rights to England internationals and the FA Cup. Turnover for the year ending 31 December 2008 was £261.8 million. on which it made an operating profit of £16.6 million and loss before tax of £15.3 million.7 The loss was attributable to £39.6 million of interest payable and similar charges, principally relating to the cost of constructing the new Wembley Stadium, opened in 2006, which the FA owns via its subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Limited. For the 4 seasons from 2008 to 2012, the FA has secured £425 million from ITV and Setanta for England and FA Cup games domestic television rights, a 42% increase over the previous contract, and £145 million for overseas television rights, up 272% on the £39 million received for the previous four-year period.8 However during 2008–09 Setanta UK went into administration, which weakened the FA's cashflow position.
The FA's income does not include the turnover of English football clubs, which are independent businesses. As well as running its own operations the FA chooses five charities each year to which it gives considerable financial support.910
The FA also runs several competitions:
The FA has a figurehead President, since 1939 always a member of the British Royal Family. The Chairman of the FA has overall responsibility for policy. Traditionally this person rose through the ranks of the FA's committee structure (e.g. by holding posts such the chairmanship of a county football association). In 2008 the politician Lord Triesman was appointed as the FA's first "independent chairman", that is the first from outside the football hierarchy. The day to day head of the FA was known as the Secretary until 1989, when the job title was changed to Chief Executive.
Board of directors
None of the FA board of directors has ever played football professionally.
Key: † = National Game Representative ‡ = Premier League Representative * = Football League Representative
- ^ "The Premier League and Other Football Bodies". Premier League. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
- ^ Harvey, Adrian (2005). Football, the First Hundred Years: The Untold Story of the People's Game. Routledge. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-415-35018-1.
- ^ Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, 16 January 1864; pg. 3, New Readerships
- ^ FOWNC newsletter 36, Rededication of the Memorial to Charles Alcock, Address by Geoff Thompson, Chairman of the FA
- ^ "Premier League wages keep on rising, Deloitte says". BBC News. 9 June 2011.
- ^ "A link to the past". www.thefa.com. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- ^ FA 2008 Report and Financial Statements Football Association
- ^ New Deals Sweet for FA, football365.com, 31 October 2007
- ^ TheFA.com
- ^ "6 villages for 2006" – Official Charity Campaign of the 2006 FIFA World Cup SOS Children's Villages, 20 July 2006
- ^ "Lord Triesman quits FA and 2018 World Cup bid jobs". BBC Sport. 16 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- ^ Horne named FA general secretary, BBC Sport
- ^ http://www.thefa.com/TheFA/WhoWeAre/TheOrganisation/Player/TheDecisionMakers
- ^ a b "Manchester United's chief executive David Gill named FA vice-chairman". The Independent (London). 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.