On what would have been his 187th birthday, Google is celebrating the father of modern football, Ebenezer Cobb Morley, with a Doodle.
Football was once a chaotic and mostly unregulated sport bearing little resemblance to “The Beautiful Game” we know today.
Enter Englishman Ebenezer Cobb Morley, who in 1863 formally wrote the first rules of football.
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Born in Hull, Morley founded Barnes Football Club before going on to form something even more significant – the Football Association (FA), the sport’s leading body in England to this day.
Morley found the game to be too wild and violent, and first suggested a set of standardized rules in a letter written popular newspaper Bell’s Life.
That letter led to a historic meeting led by Morley at the Freeman’s Tavern on October 26, 1863.
It was at that meeting that the first official rules of the game were formulated.
Initially a set of just 13 rules, they were published in a pamphlet titled “Laws of the Game.”
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The rules make it clear that football was indeed a very violent sport in its infancy.
One rule strictly prohibits kicking or “hacking” other players, while another reads: “No player shall wear projecting nails, iron plates, or gutta percha (hard latex) on the soles or heels of his boots.”
Other rules seem very unfamiliar today: Teams switched sides after every goal, and with no crossbar connecting the goalposts, goals could be scored ‘at whatever height’.
Morley died in 1924, and is now known as “the founding father of world football” for his efforts in standardising and regulating the game.