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The Football Association, also known as simply The FA, is the governing body of association football in England and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It was formed in 1863, and is the oldest national football association. Based at Wembley Stadium, London, it is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the game of football in England, both professional and amateur.
The FA sanctions all competitive football matches in England, either directly (at a National Level), or indirectly (at a local level through County Football Associations). It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the annual FA Cup. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the men's, women's and youth national football teams.
The FA is a founder member of both UEFA and FIFA and is a member of the International Football Association Board, which is responsible for the laws of the game.
The Football Association is a member of UEFA and FIFA and holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board (IFAB). As the first ever football association, it uniquely does not use the national name (i.e. English) in its title (compared to the Scottish Football Association, for example). It is headquartered at Wembley Stadium, London, United Kingdom having moved from offices at Soho Square in 2009.
All of England's professional football teams are members of the Football Association. The FA is responsible for the appointment of the management of the England men's and women's national teams and the organization of the FA Cup. Although it does not run the day-to-day operations of the country's top league, the Premier League, it has veto power over the appointment of the league Chairman and Chief Executive and over any changes to league rules. The Football League, England's second tier league, consisting of The Championship, League One and League Two, is self-governing.
Both the FA and the Football League have the power to restrict transfers and deduct points from clubs, most commonly for clubs going into administration or experiencing financial irregularities. However this is controversial as it is often the case that points are deducted from struggling clubs, worsening their financial situations and upsetting the fans of the clubs so penalized.
The game is controlled at the local level, by 43 County Football Associations affiliated to The Football Association but with responsibilities for organising and running football activities in their area. The Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man Football Associations are organised as County Football Associations below the FA. A hierarchy of leagues operates throughout the game, each taking responsibility for the administration of their own activities, such as membership, fixtures and registrations.
The FA owns and runs both Wembley Stadium and the National Football Centre (The National Football Centre is currently under construction with a target for completion set for 2010).
For centuries before the first meeting of the Football Association in the Freemasons' Tavern on Long Acre, London on 26 October 1863, there were no universally accepted rules for playing football. In each public school the game was formalised according to local conditions; but when the schoolboys reached university, chaos ensued when the players used different rules, so members of Cambridge University devised and published a set of Cambridge Rules in 1848 which was widely adopted. Another set of rules, the Sheffield Rules, was used by a number of clubs in the North of England from the 1850s.
Twelve London football clubs met in 1862 to agree common rules. The founding clubs present at the first meeting were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone (later to become Wanderers) , N.N. (No Names) Club (Kilburn), the original Crystal Palace, Blackheath, Kensington School, Percival House (Blackheath), Surbiton and Blackheath Proprietary School; Charterhouse sent their captain, B.F. Hartshorne, but declined the offer to join. Many of these clubs are now defunct or play rugby union.
Central to the creation of the Football Association and modern football was Ebenezer Cobb Morley. He was a founding member of the Football Association in 1862. In 1863, as captain of the Mortlake-based club, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport that led to the first meeting at the Freemason's Tavern that created the FA. He was the FA's first secretary (1863-66) and its second president (1867-74) and drafted the Laws of football generally called the "London Rules" at his home in Barnes, London. As a player, he played in the first ever match in 1863.
The first version of the rules for the modern game was drawn up over a series of six meetings held in the Freemasons' Tavern from October till December. At the final meeting, F. M. Campbell, the first FA treasurer and the Blackheath representative, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting, the first which allowed for the running with the ball in hand and the second, obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA but instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The term "soccer" dates back to this split to refer to football played under the "association" rules.
An inaugural game using the new FA rules was initially scheduled for Battersea Park on 2 January 1864, but enthusiastic members of the FA couldn't wait for the new year and an experimental game was played at Mortlake on 19 December 1863 between Morley's Barnes team and their neighbours Richmond (who were not members of the FA), ending in a goalless draw. The Richmond side were obviously unimpressed by the new rules in practice because they subsequently helped form the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The Battersea Park game was postponed for a week, and the first exhibition game using FA rules was played there on Saturday 9 January 1864. The members of the opposing teams for this game were chosen by the President of the FA (A. Pember) and the Secretary (E. C. Morley) and included many well-known footballers of the day.
After the first match according to the new FA rules a toast was given "Success to football, irrespective of class or creed"
The Football Association founded the FA Cup - now the longest-running major football competition in the world - in 1871. This competition was initially contested by mostly amateur teams but by the end of the 19th century it was dominated by professional teams that were mostly members of the Football League that had been founded in 1888 and expanded during the 1890s.
After many years of wrangling between the London Association and the Sheffield Football Association, the FA Cup brought the acceptance that one undisputed set of laws was required. The two associations had played 16 inter-association matches under differing rules; the Sheffield Rules, the London Rules and Mixed Rules. In April 1877, those laws were set with a number Sheffield Rules being incorporated.
In 1992, the Football Association took control of the newly-created Premier League which consisted of 22 clubs who had broken away from the First Division of the Football League. The Premier League reduced to 20 clubs in 1995 and is now one of the richest football leagues in the world.
The FA's main commercial asset is its ownership of the rights to England internationals and the FA Cup. Turnover for the year ending 31 December 2007 was £237.9 million. The FA owns the new Wembley Stadium, which opened in 2006, via its subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Limited. For the 4 seasons from 2008 to 2012, the FA has secured £425 million from ITV and Setanta for England and FA Cup games domestic television rights, a 42% increase over the previous contract, and £145 million for overseas television rights, up 272% on the £39 million received for the previous four-year period.
The FA's income does not include the turnover of English football clubs, which are independent businesses. As well as running its own operations the FA chooses five charities each year to which it gives considerable financial support.
In November 2007, Radio 5 Live estimated the cost to the FA of non-qualification for Euro 2008 to be in the direct region of £5million, with loss of revenue to the UK economy likely to run into the billions of pounds.
The FA also runs several competitions:
* FA Cup
* FA Trophy
* FA Vase
* FA Women's Cup
* FA Women's Premier League Cup
* FA Youth Cup
* FA Sunday Cup
* FA County Youth Cup
* FA Community Shield
* FA National League System Cup
* FA Futsal Cup
The FA has a figurehead President, since 1939 always a member of the British Royal Family. The Chairman of the FA has overall responsibility for policy. Traditionally this person rose through the ranks of the FA's committee structure (e.g. by holding posts such the chairmanship of a county football association). In 2008 the politician Lord Triesman was appointed as the FA's first "independent chairman", that is the first from outside the football hierarchy. The day to day head of the FA was known as the Secretary until 1989, when the job title was changed to Chief Executive.