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FA search for descendents of football’s founding fathers

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The Football Association kicks off a nationwide search today to find living descendants of the founding fathers of football – and they want your help.

Surprisingly little is known about the eight men who gathered together on 26th October 1863 in the Freemasons’ Tavern, London, to draft the 13 original laws of association football.

From those humble beginnings the FA, now in its 150th anniversary year, was born. The FA now helps to support seven million people playing the game at grassroots level, right the way through to the elite level of 24 England teams.

The founding fathers of football were:

  • Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)
  • Arthur Pember (1835-1886)
  • Charles William Alcock (1842-1907)
  • Francis Maule Campbell (1843-1920)
  • John Forster Alcock (1841-1910)
  • Herbert Thomas Steward (1839-1915)
  • George Twizell Wawn (1840-1914)
  • James Turner (unknown)

Living descendants that can be identified and located will be sent an invitation to a special ceremony at Wembley Stadium in October, where their ancestors will be honoured.

England manager Roy Hodgson believes that the sporting contribution of football’s founding fathers should be recognised in this country and around the world.

“Football is part of the fabric of our society and without the vision of these eight men 150 years ago, it may not have come to exist. It is only right that we honour the founding fathers of this nation’s favourite game,” says Hodsgon.

Jane Clayton, cultural historian from the International Football Institute, University of Central Lancashire is leading the search. She believes that living relatives will be found in 2013.

“This is an important historical search. We know so much about people who were pioneers in their chosen fields but surprisingly little is known about the individuals responsible for gifting us the most popular sport in the world.

“We are confident that by October, through genealogical research and the public’s help, we can trace some of the living descendants of the founding fathers of football,” predicts Clayton.

Watch the FA’s video below:

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball