World football

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By Peter Rileywriter and author of the Hot Topics series

Look further afield and study the players and form of international football clubs with your class

Footballer kicking a ball

With preparations for next year’s World Cup well under way, now is a great time to try a football topic in the classroom. The focus for this month’s article is on the international spread of football and the many global competitions that now take place. In the last article in this series, Hot Topics (Scholastic, £20 PB) author, Peter Riley, describes how to link the ever-popular game to subjects including literacy, ICT, history, geography, maths, and D&T.

The choice of team you follow as a class should be straightforward for these activities – you can either choose to focus on your local team, home nation or, for more variety, organise the class into groups studying other countries of their choice.


  1. How football has spread
  2. Where do your players come from?
  3. Cup competitions
  4. The World Cup

1. How football has spread

The United Kingdom was the birthplace of modern football because it was here that the rules of the game played today were established. As UK citizens visited other parts of the world – either in the armed forces or to settle permanently – they took the modern game with them and it was not long before the locals began to play this version of the game, too.

Eventually, national associations were set up in countries across the world, similar to The Football Association in England. By 1904, there was a need to organise the national associations for international matches and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris. The first member countries were France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. In 1905, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Italy and Hungary joined. At first, only European clubs were included, but in 1909, South Africa joined, followed by Chile and Argentina in 1912, and the USA in 1913.


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