Football's Early Ambassadors and the Legacy Of Their Toil

illya mclellanSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2009

The worldwide appeal of football owes a lot to the playability of the game itself and the accessibility of the equipment to all who desire to play.

The ball and two goals is all that is really needed besides the players themselves. So in some ways it would not have been a very hard sell as far as garnering interest in it went.

But despite these notions, it is also the contribution of many who played the game in its formative years and carried the love of it with them to the corners of the earth.

As of 1 May this year there are currently 208 FIFA member nations. This is a hugely impressive amount and gives some idea of the immense popularity of football around the world.

Much of the credit for this can be attributed to the people who took the game to the world in the form we see it today. Introducing the game and its basic rules would have been a pleasant task for anyone who loved it.

In a sense it is quite appealing that you are able to look past the individuals who have been credited with the spread of the game and see that the spread of football was in fact down to the collective strength of the many and they are, as a group, responsible for the spread of football.

The game's worldwide appeal does not touch every nation in the same manner, and in some countries football plays a strong second fiddle to a more popular sport. In others again it is sometimes drowned out by the sheer weight of adherents there are indulging in their particular preferred pastime.

But it is present across the globe in some shape or form, which has enabled the game on the advent of worldwide mass communication to beam matches live and direct to all parts of the globe. This, of course, has meant that certain teams and leagues have managed to popularise their brand in many different parts of the world.

This is easily seen in many countries with the popularity of Brazil in quite random locations across the world. The same randomness can be seen in the popularity of club sides like Manchester United, Liverpool or Real Madrid. Huge names that were revered everywhere in the days before mass satellite communication was possible.

The ease of transition that resulted in the game increasing in its popularity in the new age of technology can in a large way be attributed to the pioneers who went forth with the game in their head and a fire in their eyes.

The art form that football has become was always artistry in the eyes of its devotees. Those who were present in the early years loved the game as much as those who continue its traditions today.

While some have condemned the game as a distraction that takes away our attention from real human problems like war and inequality of income distribution it is in fact as ingrained in human behavior as these ills themselves. Football can be anything to anyone as well, regardless of religion, race or colour.

When the World Cup takes place next year in South Africa the eyes of the world will again be trained on this spectacle. When the first match kicks off and the crowd roars, remember the pioneers that made it all possible and how they loved the game as much as those roaring fans.