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     Volume 4 Issue 14 | September 24, 2004 |

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Football is one of the simplest sports in the world to play. A young Pelé famously practised football skills with a grapefruit. Below is a text about the origins and development of football.
Read the paragraph headings in the box, then skim the paragraphs and match the headings to the paragraphs. Try to do this in less than 10 minutes.

1. League structure
2. Various games
3. English evolution
4. Round footballs
5. Cup competition
6. Chinese origins
7. International debut
8. Key moment

It has been recorded that during the Ts'in and Han Dynasties (255 BC-220 AD) the Chinese played 'tsu chu', in which animal-skin balls were dribbled through gaps in a net stretched between two poles. Certain ancient Egyptian rites are said by historians to have similarities with football, and both the ancient Greeks and Romans also played a game that entailed carrying and kicking a ball.

In Mexico and Central America, between 600 and 1600 AD, the Mayans and Aztecs played a game with a hard rubber ball in a rectangular walled courtyard. As early as 1580 in Italy, Giovanni Bardi published a set of rules for 'calcio'. North American folklore tells of 17th century native Americans playing pasuckquakkohwog - (which means, 'they gather to play ball with the foot'). Pacific islanders played games with inflated pig bladders using hands and feet; the Eskimo are reputed to have played Aqsatuk on ice, with balls stuffed with grass, caribou hair and moss.

It was in England, though, that versions of the game were most widespread: essentially a violent mob sport with no rules, it was played at least from Roman times onward. Various monarchs and authorities suppressed the game, although Henry VIII is believed to have been a keen player. Even Royal decrees couldn't stop it - the 'people's game' had taken a grip.

The 19th century saw football's decisive evolution. Many English public schools played the game, which still had free rules. Some favoured the dribbling game, while others, such as Rugby School, allowed handling or carrying the ball. On 26 October 1863, prominent clubs and schools representatives met in the Freemason's Tavern in London to establish a set of fundamental rules that would be acceptable to everyone. The meeting led to the formation of the English Football Association - but no agreement between the 'footballers' and the 'handlers'. The majority of the parties involved favoured a game without handling. There was to be no reconciliation - and the handling game went its own way to become rugby, while the first set of established rules for football were issued.

The football itself had also evolved. At first a simple pig's bladder, it next gained a leather covering that echoed the natural shape of the bladder, but was still inflated by mouth. Finally, in 1862, with the invention of India-rubber bladders and hand-pumps, round footballs were possible.

By 1870, the Football Association had 39 member clubs. The world's oldest club, Sheffield FC, had been founded in 1857. The idea of a national knockout competition grew in strength, and finally resulted in the launching of England's FA Cup in 1871.

The first international match saw England and Scotland play a goalless draw in Glasgow on 30 November 1872, some still claim the Scot's were lucky! Subsequent years brought crucial developments such as the fixing of the size of the ball, the use of a crossbar to replace tape, and the introduction of a referee and two linesman to take charge of the game.

In 1888, English football set up a competitive structure. On 17 April, at a meeting of prominent English clubs, the Football League was formed. Following England's example, national associations were formed in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. British influence abroad led to other countries forming national football bodies. In 1904, an international umbrella organisation, FIFA, was born. Football was on its way...

It's good practice for you to answer specific questions, but it's also very good practice to form questions for specific, given answers. Look at the example below, then try to write questions for the answers in the box below.

Example: 1871 When did the English FA launch the FA Cup?

1. Sheffield FC 2. Giovanni Bardi 3. Henry VIII 4. 1862 5. Pig's bladder 6. 39
7. Aqsatuk 8. 'they gather to play ball with the foot' 9. Rugby 10. 0-0
Now write another 10 answers and challenge a friend to write the questions.

You can use a general subject, like football, to group and order words. If you do this, some people find it easier to remember new and related words.

referee linesman ball boots goalkeeper goal post defender gloves stadium midfielder
net pass centre forward crossbar score tackle corner pitch manager

Put the words from the box below into the correct category, then use a dictionary to check.


Do you have a favourite sport or hobby? Why not research this sport/hobby, write a brief history of how it began, or maybe a how popular it is today, including the most famous players and countries. Give yourself a word limit of 150 words. Think of categories/headings for your paragraphs, such as The early years, Today, The future.

Make some questions about your article and give them to a friend. Finally think of all the words you associate with this sport/hobby and put the words into categories, if you don't know the words in English use Bengali/English dictionary. Choose something you are interested in and you will find it easier, or at the least; more fun!


A-6, B-2, C-3, D-8, E-4, F-5, G-7, H-1
1. Which is the world's oldest club?
2. Who wrote the rules for Calcio?
3. Which Royal liked football's violent predecessor?
4. When were round footballs first possible?
5. What were the first footballs made of?
6. How many clubs were members of the FA by 1870?
7. What game, similar to football, did Eskimos play?
8. What does 'pesuckquakkohwog' mean?
9. What did the 'handling game' become?
10. What was the score of the first international match?



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