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The Football Association

This article is about the English Football Association. For the term Football Association, see Football association. For more detail on the sport, see Association football.

The Football Association
Association crest
Founded 26 October 1863
FIFA affiliation 1905–1918
UEFA affiliation 1954
IFAB affiliation 1886
President HRH The Duke of Cambridge

The Football Association, also known simply as The FA, is the governing body of football in England, and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. 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 its territory.

The FA sanctions all competitive football matches within its remit 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. The FA is a member of the British Olympic Association, meaning that the FA has control over the men's and women's Great Britain Olympic football team.[1]

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.[2] The Football League, made up of the professional leagues below the Premier League, is self-governing.


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 the University of Cambridge 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.

Eleven London football clubs and schools representatives met in 26 October 1863 to agree on 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.[3] 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.

File:Original laws of the game 1863.jpg
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, Manchester.

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 could not 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".[4]

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 Cup[5]—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 (RE), 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.[6]

The Football Association celebrated 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.[7]

Crown dependencies

The Football Associations within the Crown dependencies Jersey (Jersey Football Association), Guernsey (Guernsey Football Association) and the Isle of Man (Isle of Man Football Association) are affiliated to the Football Association despite having a separate identity from that of the United Kingdom and by extension England.[8] They are considered County Football Associations by the Football Association. Matt Le Tissier and Graeme Le Saux have represented The Football Associations' full national representative team and were born in Guernsey and Jersey respectively.[9]

The Guernsey Football Association, Isle of Man Football Association and Jersey Football Association have been affiliated with the Football Association since 1903, 1908 and 1905 respectively.[10][11][12]

The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar's Gibraltar Football Association were affiliated the Football Association from 1911 until they opted to become a fully recognised member of UEFA, a feat achieved after a 14-year legal battle. Joseph Nunez, the Gibraltar FA President claimed they were "unilaterally thrown out" of the FA following an intervention from Geoff Thompson.[10]

A loophole was closed in May 2008 by FIFA which allowed players born in the Channel Islands to choose which nation belonging to the United Kingdom to present at international level. During the 1990s, Trevor Wood (Jersey) and Chris Tardif (Guernsey) represented Northern Ireland.

Relationship with FIFA

The Football Association first joined FIFA in 1905. The British Associations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) opted to leave FIFA after World War I after FIFA chose not to exclude those who were part of the Central Powers from the organisation. The British Associations' stance had changed by 1922 and in 1924 they had rejoined FIFA.[note 1]

The British Olympic Association had fought against 'broken time' - monetary compensation for athletes' earnings when competing in the Olympic games. At the 1925 Olympic Congress in Prague, the British had made an amendment that concluded governing federations should define amateur status for their sports but only in accordance with the definition of amateurism accepted by the Olympic Congress. In 1928, Switzerland proposed to FIFA that in certain circumstances, 'broken time' payments should be allowed and FIFA accepted. The FA resigned from FIFA in protest against the proposal. As a result of The FA's resignation, England did not participate in the 1930, 1934 or 1938 FIFA World Cup.

At the 1930 Olympic Congress in Berlin, Belgian delegates proposed that for each sport the definition of amateur status be left to its international federation. The BOA argued for a common definition of amateurism and argued that 'broken time' payments were against the Olympic ideal.

The FA rejoined FIFA in 1946 and participated in their first World Cup in 1950. One of the first actions of the Football Association was to request the expulsion of the German and Japanese national football associations for their countries' role in World War II. Germany and Japan were prevented from qualifying for the 1950 FIFA World Cup as a consequence. They were re-acquainted with FIFA in 1950 following a second request from Switzerland who had a previous request rejected in 1948.


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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15][16]

During the last three years, The FA received £350,000 in fines from players over comments made on Twitter, the most recent fine being a £25,000 to Rio Ferdinand. The highest fine given during the last three years was a £90,000 fine to Ashley Cole in 2012 after calling The FA "a bunch of twats." The FA has been more and more strict on comments made by players on Twitter, as The FA has disciplined 121 players overall in the last three years.[17]


File:The FA Cup Trophy.jpg
The FA Cup trophy used from 1911 to 2013

The FA also runs several competitions:


File:Prince William of Wales RAF.jpg
Prince William is the current President of the FA

The FA has a figurehead President, since 1939, who is 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 David 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.

Office Name Tenure
President Arthur Pember 1863–1867
E.C. Morley 1867–1874
Francis Marindin 1874–1890
Arthur Kinnaird 1890–1923
Charles Clegg 1923–1937
William Pickford 1937–1939
The Earl of Athlone 1939–1955
HRH the Duke of Edinburgh 1955–1957
HRH the Duke of Gloucester 1957–1963
Earl of Harewood 1963–1971
HRH the Duke of Kent 1971–2000
HRH the Duke of York 2000–2006
HRH the Duke of Cambridge May 2006–present
Chairman Charles Clegg 1890–1937
A. G. Hines 1938
M. Frowde 1939–1941
Amos Brook Hirst 1941–1955
Arthur Drewry 1955–1961
Graham Doggart 1961–1963
Joe Mears 1963–1966
Andrew Stephen 1967–1976
Harold Thompson 1976–1981
Bert Millichip 1981–1996
Keith Wiseman 1996–1999
Geoff Thompson 1999–2008
David Triesman 2008–2010[19]
David Bernstein 2011– 2013
Greg Dyke 2013-
Secretary E.C. Morley 1863–1866
R. W. Willis 1866–1868
R. G. Graham 1868–1870
Charles Alcock 1870–1895
Frederick Wall 1895–1934
Stanley Rous 1934–1962
Denis Follows 1962–1973
E. A. Croker 1973–1989
Chief executive Graham Kelly 1989–1998
Adam Crozier 2000–2002
David Davies 2002–2003 (acting)
Mark Palios 2003–2004
David Davies 2004–2005 (acting)
Brian Barwick 2005–2008
Ian Watmore 2009–2010
Alex Horne 2010–2010 (acting)[20]
Martin Glenn 2015–present[21]
General Secretary Alex Horne 2010–present
Executive Director David Davies 1998–2000

Board of directors

None of the FA board of directors has ever played football professionally.[22]

File:Greg Dyke from acrofan.jpg
Greg Dyke is The Football Association chairman since July 2013

Taken from website on 2014-08-06[22]

General Secretary: Alex Horne

  • Vice-Chairmen:

Roger Burden[24] (Gloucestershire FA)

Key: † = National Game Representative ‡ = Premier League Representative * = Football League Representative

See also

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  1. ^ Ireland had since partitioned, Northern Ireland remained British, the Irish Free State was independent of Britain


  1. ^ "Team GB decision reached". 26 June 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Premier League and Other Football Bodies". Premier League. Retrieved 17 May 2007. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, 16 January 1864; pg. 3, New Readerships
  5. ^ FOWNC newsletter 36, Rededication of the Memorial to Charles Alcock, Address by Geoff Thompson, Chairman of the FA
  6. ^ "Premier League wages keep on rising, Deloitte says". BBC News. 9 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "A link to the past". 23 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "FA Handbook 2013-14" (PDF). p. 621. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Islands lack competition — Pitman". BBC News. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Menary, Steve (2007). Outcasts! : the lands that FIFA forgot. Studley: Know the Score!. ISBN 978-1905449316. 
  11. ^ "Anti-discrimination policy". Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Junttila, Jukka. "Jersey" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  13. ^ FA 2008 Report and Financial Statements Football Association
  14. ^ New Deals Sweet for FA,, 31 October 2007
  15. ^
  16. ^ "6 villages for 2006" – Official Charity Campaign of the 2006 FIFA World Cup SOS Children's Villages, 20 July 2006
  17. ^ "FA made £350,000 from Twitter fines in just three years". Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "The FA People's Cup launches". The FA. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  19. ^ "Lord Triesman quits FA and 2018 World Cup bid jobs". BBC Sport. 16 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Horne named FA general secretary, BBC Sport
  21. ^ "Football Association: Martin Glenn appointed as chief executive". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ About Football Association - Structure. The FA. Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Manchester United's chief executive David Gill named FA vice-chairman". The Independent (London). 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Heather Rabbatts becomes first female to join FA board". 

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:Friendly association football tournaments in England