If you’ve ever witnessed or been to a football match, you’ll be familiar with the great atmosphere to be found at a game. Hundreds of fans singing their team’s chant in unison, whilst trying to drown out the opposition. It’s part of the fun of the sport, and certainly adds to the overall experience of a football game!
Whilst there is tight security at most games nowadays to prevent the festivities, we should actually count ourselves lucky we’re allowed to spectate the game at all. In fact, it was almost banned over 30 times in the UK alone. Read on to find out how the sport narrowly avoided several permanent bans around the world.
1314 – City of London
One of the earliest attempts at banning the sport can be traced back to 1314, when the Lord Mayor of London issued a proclamation banning football from being played within the city, owing to the chaos it caused. Early football was often referred to as ‘mob football‘. It had few rules and did often result in injury or damage to local properties when played. If the residents of the city chose to ignore this new rule, they actually faced imprisonment.
1349 and 1477
Football was seen as a distraction from the mandatory discipline of archery, and as a result, Edward III and Edward IV both banned the sport, in the hopes that those playing it would practise their archery and become valuable assets in the defence of the nation.
Of course, these monarchs weren’t to know that football would evolve and become a multi-billion pound industry. Nowadays, it is the source of thousands of jobs, for football players, coaches, referees and, football kit suppliers such as https://www.kitking.co.uk/.
Bans outside of England
Bans on football weren’t just in England. In Scotland, James I passed the Football Act of 1424, banning the game. Similarly, there was a banning of a very similar sport to mob football called ‘La soule’, in France in 1369.
Nowadays, the game still faces minor obstacles. For example, all across the UK signs can be found prohibiting ball games in parks and residential areas. However, given it is now the most widely watched and played sport in the world, it’s definitely come a long way since the attempted bans of the past 500 years.