The International Language of Football

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As one of the most popular sports on earth, football has been keeping millions of people entertained across the globe for the best part of a century now. However, it has actually existed in some shape or form since as far back as the third century; the ancient game of Cuju – literally ‘Kick Ball’ - was played throughout many parts of Asia.

Indeed, the sport has existed in various forms throughout the centuries, but it wasn’t until 1863 when the English Football Association (FA) was formed, that the precise rules of play were ratified and now – over a century and a half later – the sport continues to go from strength to strength across the globe.

However, it’s probably fair to say that Europe has emerged as the main football hotspot; and given that this is where many of the richest clubs are based, it is also where most of the world’s top players aspire to ply their trade.

Because of this, it’s safe to say that the world’s most prestigious club tournament is based here, and every season, Europe’s top clubs battle it out to win the much coveted UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League. And for those teams that haven’t quite earned a place in the competition through their domestic league position, then there is the UEFA cup – to be re-named the ‘UEFA Europa League’ from 2009/10 – which offers scores of teams the opportunity to win some European silverware.

But as far as most football fans are concerned, if their team qualifies for either of the main European competitions, then they simply buy a match ticket, turn up on the day and show their support. However, it can be easy to forget how much organisation goes into staging such highly-esteemed tournaments.

Given that there are currently 53 national football associations that are active members of UEFA, some with as many as 7 representative teams in the two main European competitions, then it’s easy to see why it is necessary to have one governing body that can control, administer and oversee the running of all aspects of European football.

What's more, there are prize funds to control and distribute, rules and regulations to uphold and, in the age of the television, media rights to manage.

And all this before we even begin to consider international football. As one of the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA – the international governing body of football - UEFA is also responsible for all of Europe’s national teams, in terms of facilitating the participation in international qualifying and tournament matches.

So, there really is a lot of work involved in keeping the world’s greatest footballing continent kicking. In the century and a half since the English Football Association first sat around a table to formalise the sport that has come to be known as ‘the beautiful game’, a lot may have changed; but football has become an international language spoken throughout every continent on earth. And Europe is at the very heart of the action.

Paul McIndoe writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.



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