Football as a Social Phenomenon

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What makes football so popular? In his short essay, Kalle Nurk, an Estonian sociologist, tries to analyze the reasons that make football the most widely practised (and watched) sport in the world. The main goal of this work is to inspire readers to score with their own ideas to think further on the subject.

A large number of people sitting in their seats, whistling, tooting and yelling while watching 22 men chase a ball in a field covered in grass. Is this some kind of a strange ritual? At least, it would seem so to a foreigner's eye. Football, as we know it today, has become a global phenomenon. But how, where and when did it emerge?

The origin of modern football

The direct predecessor of this popular sports game is considered to be the Shrovetide football or "mob football" which was played throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. This form of football, being particularly popular in England, was played between neighbouring towns and villages, involving an unlimited number of players on opposing teams who tried to move an item such as an inflated pigs bladder to certain geographical points (such as the opponents church). In some English towns (Alnwick, Ashbourne etc.), the tradition of Shrovetide games is still preserved today.

The modern game of football was codified in England in 1863. The Laws of the Game devised by the Football Association created the foundations for the way the sport is played now.

Success factors

So, what are the factors that have turned football into worldwide entertainment, the king of sports?

1. Simple rules. When observing the game for the first time, one need not make much effort to get the hang of it.

2. The feeling of social cohesion. Whether you are watching the game on a stadium or at home in front of the TV set, it is always great fun to comment the match together with your friends.

3. Big stars and large amounts of money. Footie ace David Beckham continues to earn mega bucks. According to...
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