Soccer is an essential part of modern European life, but when and how did it originate? The roots of modern football are found in medieval Europe, where various ball games were popular among kids of all ages. Those early games didn’t have any fixed rules and hardly resembled modern professional football all the way until the mid-19th century. The first actual set of rules was published by Rugby School in 1845, shortly followed by a similar document from Eton College (1847). These codes, along with many other early regulations generated by universities and schools across Great Britain, did the groundwork for the emergence of today’s Premier League and all other professional leagues.
October 26, 1863, is a remarkable day for all football fans globally. On this date, delegates from several soccer clubs gathered at the Freemasons’ Tavern to carve out The Football Association. The entity established the first widely recognized set of rules and encouraged clubs across the country to join the organization. Even though most schools declined the offer, the FA held 6 meetings from October to December. The first 5 gatherings, however, weren’t especially productive since they were marked with constant changes in the rules and withdrawal of several clubs. The final, 6th meeting held on December 8, 1863, established detailed guidelines and separated the game of soccer from what is known today as rugby.
The final version of the FA’s rules became essential to early clubs and players. They were accepted by the majority of teams and fans and applied in the first tournament ever, the Youdan Cup (1867). The FA’s regulations were also used by Sheffield and Nottingham in their traditional annual matches. Shortly after the Youdan Cup, the Association held its own tournament. In 1872, its final game gathered 2,000 viewers, which immediately attracted the attention of all clubs and players in the country. Everybody recognized the need to comply with the FA’s rules if they wanted to participate in the tournament, so the regulations were quickly adopted by all professionals.
There are no prizes for guessing that the first-ever international soccer match was played between Scottish and English teams. On November 30, 1872, the game took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Unfortunately, the match resulted in a draw, so there are numerous controversies surrounding it. None of the sides wanted to accept the outcome, and additional matches were played subsequently.
Shortly after the emergence of soccer in England and Scotland, other European countries set up their own leagues and clubs. It’s worth noting that several continental clubs had existed even before The Football Association was established. For instance, the oldest European club, Swiss Lausanne, dates back to 1860. Other similar organizations from Belgium and the Netherlands were set up shortly afterward, in 1863 and 1865, respectively. By the end of the 19th century, almost all European nations had their football leagues and numerous clubs.
Except for the national leagues of each country, European soccer became dominant thanks to the Champions League. This annual tournament is the most prestigious competition for all participants. Only winners of national leagues (and, sometimes, teams that finish second) can make it to the European Cup. The latter was established in 1955 and took on enormous importance in popularizing European soccer. Of course, national leagues were popular in respective countries, but the annual event that gathers the best clubs from the whole continent significantly added up to European soccer’s popularity. The league’s logo alone is recognized by 94% of football fans, which clearly signalizes about its influence.
That’s all great, but why European leagues garner much more attention than any other ones? Every football fan knows what the Premier League, the Bundesliga, or La Liga is, but who has ever heard about the American soccer league? It seems like the most accomplished players from every corner of the world are doing their best to join one of the top European clubs. European leagues are clearly the most popular on the planet, and there are some good reasons for it:
Soccer has been popular in Europe ever since its emergence. While that doesn’t directly answer why European football leagues are the most popular worldwide, it suggests that football in Europe generates enormous profits. Add that to the highly developed economies of European countries with the most prominent soccer leagues, and you’ll see a trend here: the best football leagues are in their current state only because they generate revenues. European soccer is popular worldwide because it is well-promoted. Hundreds of millions are invested in marketing, which makes the whole world closely follow every season of the Premier League or La Liga.
Marketing efforts and high competitiveness drive the best players from the whole world to European leagues. If we were to examine the lineup of top European teams, we’d find out that in fact, they are not completely made up of Europeans. It’s a fairly common practice to invite players from developing countries to special academies, where they train to become parts of the top European teams. This provides clubs with the possibility to gather and raise the most talented players. On the other hand, football fans from different nations receive additional reasons to follow European leagues – it’s always more pleasant to cheer for your fellow countrymen, even if they are playing in distant countries.
With the emergence of live TV, and, shortly afterward, the Internet, watching football and gunning for favorite teams have become more and more convenient. Live Score (ผลบอลสด) of any match is now available whenever you need it, along with all the statistics and a full record of the game. Anyone can watch live broadcasts of the most interesting games on the web at any time, including on the go on mobile devices, so following the latest trends in football is simpler than ever. This makes the sport more appealing to new audiences and helps keep the attention of existing fans.