Celebrations take place in Battersea Park to remember role in birth of modern football


The world’s first football match was played at the park 150 years ago.


By SWLondoner staff

All eyes were on Battersea Park today as it celebrated its role as the birthplace of modern football.

The world’s very first football match, played according to the modern rules which govern the game, was played at the park 150 years ago, an event which was recreated this afternoon.

The event, which was backed by the London FA, saw players wearing period dress and playing the first half of the game according to original association football rules and the second half under the rules of the modern era.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia unveiled a special plaque in the park to commemorate the fixture.

“Battersea Park occupies a very special place in the rich and colourful story of football,” he said.

 “It was the location chosen to stage the world’s very first game played according to association football rules. This was a landmark moment in the history of the modern game.”

By the 1860s, pressure was building for a uniform set of rules for the game,and this led to the establishment of the Football Association in October 1863. In December of that year the FA drew up the original 13 rules of association football which have remained largely unchanged and govern the modern global game.

To test out these new rules the FA arranged a showcase fixture in Battersea Park on January 9, 1864 involving all the best players in England. A team captained by the FA President beat one led by the FA Secretary 2-0, with both goals scored by Charles William Alcock, a celebrated footballer and sports journalist who went on to become Honorary Secretary of the FA.

The ball for the game was provided by The Spirit of Football, a non-profit charity who organised the teams for the game. They will then send it on a special pilgrimage of 30,000 miles to the World Cup in Brazil.

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