The Football Association celebrates 150 years

The Football Association is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. ITV News takes a look back at how the FA was formed.

On October 26th 1863, The Football Association was founded at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London.

The initiator was Ebenezer Morley, a solicitor and sportsman living in Barnes in south-west London, who decided that like cricket, football should have a set of rules.

In 1934, Stanley Rous was made FA secretary, he set about streamlining the Association, developing courses for referees and coaches Credit: PA Archive

The purpose of the Association was to establish a definite code of rules in order to regulate the game.

The first match to be played under those rules was held at Limes Field on 19th December 1863, which saw a 0-0 draw between Barnes and Richmond.

In 1871 came the announcement of the ‘The Football Association Challenge Cup’, the idea of Charles Adcock, who had been the FA's secretary for just over a year.

The entries of 15 clubs were accepted, despite the FA having 50 member clubs at that time.

Only 12 clubs ended up playing, with 13 matches played, and before 2,000 spectators at Kennington Oval, Wanderers were named Cup winners, beating the Royal Engineers 1-0.

Boys from Central Park and Napier Road Schools in East Ham practice ball control in 1951 Credit: PA Archive

The first official international between Scotland and England was played on 30th November 1872, the Scottish FA had not yet been formed.

The admission fee was a shilling, and teams played in front of crowds of 4,000, with a 0-0 draw at the final whistle.

By 1885, the FA was truly a national body, with County and District associations growing across the country.

That same year the FA formally legalised the profession of footballer.

Three years later the Football League was created to provide an organised system of regular fixtures, a self-contained body within the FA.

The FA was indifferent to the growth of football abroad, stating it could not see the advantages of a 'European Federation'.

As a result England were not one of the original members of FIFA, which was founded in Paris in 1904, but two years later the FA had approved the existence of the body.

General view of the new Wembley stadium, finished in 2007 Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Highly criticised for allowing the 1914-15 FA Cup to run its course during the First World War, the FA had taken advice from the War Office to continue matches to boost the morale of the country.

The first World Cup took place in 1930, but the FA did not enter a team.

In 1934, Stanley Rous was made FA secretary, he set about streamlining the Association, developing courses for referees and coaches.

During World War II, the FA collaborated with the War Office, 200 pitches became 'Fitness for Service' centres, knocking the country's young men into shape.

Post-war football was seen as a relief to the country, and shortly after, Walter Winterbottom was appointed 'Director of Coaching' and 'England Manager' by the FA, England's first manager.

English football moved towards a period of change following the Munich air disaster that saw the loss of many Manchester United players.

Nobby Stiles kisses the World Cup trophy after England's 1966 win Credit: PA Archive

In 1960 Sunday amateur football was recognised by the FA, and the League Cup was introduced.

After six years of organisation from the FA, the 1966 World Cup was hosted in England, for the first time.

Globally, an estimated two billion people watched England's progress, eventually beating West Germany 4-2 in the final.

In 1974 the FA abolished the distinction between amateur and professional players, saying goodbye to the Amateur Cup, England Amateur Team and the Great Britain Olympic Team.

By this time, football hooliganism was gaining pace, with fights on the terraces and obscene chanting.

Accused of not doing enough to control the fans behaviour, the FA erected fences and cages, searching fans and introducing CCTV.

The Hillsborough disaster and other tragedies of the 80s led to calls for the Government to redevelop games Credit: PA Archive

On 4th September 1984 ‘The Football Association GM National School’ was opened at Lilleshall Hall in Shropshire by the Duke of Kent.

The school aimed to nurture future talent, including Michael Owen, who eventually scored 40 goals for England.

In the late 80s, English football suffered from the Bradford, Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies, reports called for the roles of the Government and local authorities to help redevelop the games.

In 1991, the FA Council decided on a plan to reduce the number of games for top players to help the England team maximise its chances.

The new 'Premier Division' reduced 22 clubs to 18, allowing a promotion and relegation system.

Kate and WIlliam open the National Football Centre in Burton-on-Trent Credit: Chris Jackson/The FA via Getty I/PA Wire

Since 1999, the FA has had four chairmen, five chief executives and four England managers.

In 2007, a new Wembley stadium was finished, along with the establishment of the FA Skills programme for children aged five to 11.

The 'FA Women's Super League' allowed semi-professional league playing matches for women, replacing the FA Women's Premier League.

Last year, the FA's National Football Centre was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a leading centre of sports and medical science, and training centre to the England Team.