Believe it or not, the most popular sport in the world was not always an 11 versus 11 player sport. Football with 11 players per team is relatively recent.
A little history
It is a sport with more than a century of life. Since it was created in England in the 19th century, it has evolved quite a bit to become a sophisticated and popular sport that we know today.
Football had its modest beginnings in industrial England, where it began as a workforce. As of today, practically anywhere in the world, it is known what football is, and very few countries, cities, or towns do not have a football team to represent them. This sport has been polished by rules that differentiate it from other highly competitive physical activities.
The rule that dictates that each team must start the game with eleven players on the field, was born with the Football Association’s formation. This organization managed to unify the criteria regarding the number of participants in the game. At that time (1870), each region had its own rules. It was played by a team with up to 15 or 21 players.
Cricket as a reference…
The experts in the history of Football assert that the Football Association membersopted for the number eleven based on cricket, a sport already widely practiced with this number of players.
Towards the end of the 19th century, cricket was the most popular sport in England, and it was considered a well-organized sport with a number of members that covered the playing field in a good way.
Since then, this rule has never been controversial, and to this day, we can talk about the team with the best eleven or the eleven best players in the tournament. It is only accepted that teams settle with different numbers of players when it comes to lower divisions or other forms of football, such as futsal.
Uniform and numbering
Something else to highlight is that the teams were not uniformed in the beginning, and the players did not have a number to identify them individually either. Instead of a uniform, the players wore a cap or sash to distinguish themselves from the opposing team.
The numbering issue was something that would take much longer to implement officially. In the 40s of the 20th century, the rule was issued that players had to be numerically marked on their numbers.
The numbering obviously started from 1 to 11, but, as we know, today some players carry higher numbers. The numbering rule dictates that the players of a Football team must be numbered consecutively, so that it cannot be passed to a later number without filling the vacancy of the number that precedes it.
FIFA has not allowed the numbers of players who made history in any club or selection to be withdrawn without any other player being able to carry them. For this reason, as important as a player may have been for a team, when he retires, he must give his number to another squad member.
11 player Football is the king of sports and the king of types of Football, where we can find Football 5 and Football 7 for example. Without a doubt, the number of players on the playing field is one of the aspects that make this sport so characteristic, and the number 11 will always be related to football.