Football Association

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An association established in 1863 as the authorized governing body of football in England. It was established to unify the different football codes and the widely varying sets of local rules; representatives of eleven clubs met in London and formulated nine original rules for the playing of the game, and in succeeding years amended these rules in ways that led to the separate development of the association football and rugby union football codes. The FA has retained its position as the controlling body of the game in England, though its insular attitudes to international developments left it marginal to global initiatives such as the football World Cup in the first years of the existence of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body (founded in 1904), and from the later 1920s until after World War II, when again the FA was not a member of FIFA.

The FA continues to represent football in England at all of its levels from amateur to professional, and has primary responsibility for the national side and for bids to stage international tournaments (such as a World Cup). The FA Council includes representatives of English counties, the ancient universities, the armed forces, and the Women's Football Conference. Critics claim that this is unwieldy and anachronistic, resulting in unprofessional outcomes and lack of focused leadership. An alternative view is that the FA is a genuinely inclusive, all-embracing and fundamentally democratic body representing the interests of the game at all of its levels. It has certainly been a conservative and at times reactionary body. FA secretary Ted Croker (1924–1992), in post from 1973 to 1979, commented in 1988 that football is a ‘hard, physical contest, a form of combat sport, a man's game’ in which ‘women have no place except to cheer on their men, wash and iron their kit, and prepare and serve refreshments’. In Croker's time (1983), the Women's Football Association had been invited to affiliate to the FA Council. A decade later, women's football began to be integrated more fully with the formation of a Women's Football Committee, followed by the FA taking on responsibility for the women's professional league, and its cup competition.

http://www.thefa.com/ The official site of England's Football Association (FA), containing background historical detail, general information, and contact details.

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