Miscellanea | Misc
Why did I choose to write about Soccer?
There are four reputed prizes in the world --
I have never played any game in my life, but when I was in Nigeria, somehow I developed some interest in Football. Although I still do not know how the game is played, nor I have tried to know, but still I like a couple of things in it, such as that it is finished in 1 and 1/2 hour, I like to watch players running after one ball, their passing and the techniques they use to score a goal, and of course penalty kicks and the extra time after a match has a tie etc etc. So since 1988 I have been watching all World Cup Games. This time I thought to pen down some of the interesting facts about it. Well, this information is not new, but it is very consolidated, hope amateur Football fans like myself will appreciate my efforts and be benefited by this.
Soccer or Football
Soccer is an American term for football. No country has been snootier toward the America’s use of the term “soccer” than England. Thus soccer is a synonym for football. To trace the origin of the word soccer one has to go back to 1863 and a meeting of English gentlemen at a London pub to standardize the rules of playing football. At that time this game was in its infant years but was gaining popularity fast. Those members became the founding members of the Football Association and they decided to call their code Association Football to differentiate it from Rugby Football.
A quirk of British culture is the permanent need to familiarize names by shortening them. So they took the third, fourth and fifth letters of Association and called it SOCcer. So there you are. So forget that English condescension and carry on calling it soccer, safe in the knowledge that you’re more in tune with the roots of the sport than those mocking Brits.
History of Soccer
It is said that this game, in the form of kicking a ball into a small net was played by Chinese military during 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. Both the Greeks and Romans played a football type game, which resembled modern football game, could consist up to 27 players.
But Britain is the undisputed birth place of modern football, England and Scotland being the co-founders of the organized game. In early stages it was a war game type that is why many authorities to stop it but it was so popular that it could not be stopped. There is a story which places the first football game with the severed head of a Danish prince they had defeated in the battle. In medieval times people played it against their rival towns and villages, and kicking, punching, biting and gouging all were allowed.
1904 - Birth of FIFA (The Federation of World Football)
FIFA was founded in 1904. It celebrated its centenary in 2004. Its history is available in book form in four official languages - English, French, German, and Spanish, in most book stores.
Hiring of Foreign Players in Football
Football didn't gain much popularity in Europe in World War II, but it gained very strong ground in South America during that period. Argentina and Uruguay both set up their professional leagues of ten teams, but soon they faced financial problems and Colombians bade for their stars to join them and the first few Argentina stars joined Colombian teams. Soon the number crossed 300. Other developments also took place - hiring English professional referees, putting number on jerseys, and allowing two substitutions.
In 1949, a Hungarian fled to Spain, signed for their team, and became the citizen of Spain. By 1956 some 250 players fled Hungary to wherever they found their footing. Even some FIFA World Cup finalists in Switzerland also joined them. In the end of 1950 an amateur team was founded in Australia and hired many professionals without any formalities, but FIFA stopped them doing so. In 2000 some 15,000 people signed for the teams of other countries.
FIFA has recently (2006) decided that the people who have originated from another country, but are nationals of another country, can play for their country of origin.
In the USA, the USA Football Association finally created a professional league in 1990 at last.
Trophy - Real or Replica?
As Germans took their trophy in 2014 they did not know that their time with trophy was short. After the celebrations were over the Germans will head to their country only with a replica, not the real trophy. 13.16 pounds of 75% pure 18-Karat gold trophy was taken away from them only to be locked away for the next 4 years.
But Germany is not the only team walking away with a replica. Since 1974 (the winner was Germany at that time also), all winners have walked away with replicas. Because this trophy is not coveted only by players but also by thieves. In 2010, Cash4Gold, the world’s top public gold buyer, said the trophy was worth upwards of $10 million and its value continues to rise as the value of gold rises. Because of this, the trophy has been stolen twice and was once saved from thievery.
During World War II, Dr. Ottorino Barassi, the Italian vice-president of FIFA, hid the original trophy – the Jules Rimet Cup – in a shoebox under his bed to keep it out of the hands of the Nazis. However, all that work was for naught because in 1966, the trophy was stolen in England while on display at a public exhibition in London. Seven days later, the stolen trophy was found by a dog named Pickles, who was relieving himself on a bush when his owner saw the trophy wrapped in a newspaper.
1970, the Jules Rimet Cup went to Brazil – permanently – after it won its
third World Cup. The trophy we know today replaced the Jules Rimet Cup and
that prize was first handed out in 1974. However, thieves were still very
much in love with the old version and in 1983, the trophy was stolen from
the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro and
never recovered. Legend has it that it was melted down and sold.
But, each winner since 1974 has had its name engraved on the base of the real trophy. After Germany gets its engraving, there’s only room for three more names. It’s unknown what FIFA will do after it runs out of space in 2030 on what will be the 100th anniversary of the tournament.
Created by Sushma Gupta On May 27, 2001
Modified on 07/14/14