Today I have been invited to preach at a Football Championship. In order to have a relevant sermon, I searched to acquaint with the history of football and I found out interesting things about the man who had a great impact on football of all times. I have found out that it is good to put together these information and to share them with the readers.
In 2002, in England appeared the book “The Father of Modern Sport: The Life and Times of Charles W. Alcock” written by Keith Booth.
Charles William Alcock was a great fooballer, a cricket player, a referee and a talented administrator. He was born in 1942, four years before 1846 when there were labored the first soccer rules, that were called “The Cambridge Rules”. But these rules were not adopted everywhere.That’s why in October, 1863, in a London pub gathered the representatives of some soccer clubs and decided to labor unique rules for all clubs. There, it was the definitive separation between Rugby and Soccer. Before this, they were together because there were not these unique rules. The games were accompanied by many injures and there wasn’t any possibility to organize competitions because of the lack of these rules.
When he was in prison and wrote to his disciple Timothy, Apostle Paul compared eternal life with the act of participating at a sport competition and said:
Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)(NASB)
Charles didn’t participate at the elaboration of these rules, but his brother, John, was an active participant. Charles, not long after the foundation of the Footbal Association (FA), he founded and started to publish a magazine about football, that was published yearly. Maybe this is also the secret of the huge popularity of football. Before the beginning of any competition at an official level, there appeared an yearly magazine that promoted this sport. And if you just think that then people didn’t have the possibilities that we have to publish the printable matrials.
When he was only 27 years old, Charles became the FA secretary. Those who voted for him, hadn’t even imagined what a great share would he bring and what an impact he would have upon the further development of football. At that time FA had only 7 years after its foundation.
He organized for the first time the international games, where participated England and Scotland teams. The first official game took place in 1870 on the 5th of March with the final score 1:1.
In 1871 Charles Alcock came with the initiative to organize the Football England Cup and he is the one who initiated the system, nowadays called olympic; according to it, the competitions between teams take place. At the first championship, 12 teams enlisted, and then the number of the teams increased to 15. At this championship Charles Ancock was the captain of the team he played for and who became champions. He was the first man who raised above the head the Cup of England. Football was far, very far away from the popularity it has nowadays. At this final game of the first Cup of England there were present only 2000 spectators.
Charles was a good cricket player too and his example motivated many other sportsmen who practiced cricket to pass to football.
At the 6th of March, 1975 Charles Alcock played football in the official game that was between the teams of England and Scotland. In this game, Charles dropped the second goal and also for this game his name was wrtitten in the Guinness World Records as being the eldest player who participated at the international official games ever. Then he was 32 years and 94 days old.
In 1882 Football Association of England made a decision that banned the players to be paid. After this, there were discovered some abjections and one of the clubs was disqualified from playing for a year. Because such abjections were more often, the committee gathered to dicuss and to find solutions. Alcock was the one who looked in future and said that it would be impossible to stop the development of proffesional football, and at the next meeting of the association committee, he proposed to legalize the professional football. Only after a half an year from this proposal, it was accepted.
Today football is the most spread and popular world sport. No other sport can compare with football. But football is a special tool for preaching the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Being a member of the PSP Council of The World Sport Coalition, I am a member of the same council where Jorghino and Paulas Silas, players of the team from Brasil, are members. Being a good friend with Alex Dias Ribeiro, the chaplain of the team, I found out very beautiful things about the way God works in and through them.
A very beautiful and hopeful example for me is the ministry of the club Tintasii from Moldova, led by Radu Blendarencu.
Are you a Christian? Do you like football? How do you use this sport to preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Translated by Djugostran Felicia