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Football is from China

Football is not just round. It also comes from China!


This may sound like a funny story, China is not even qualified for this year's World Cup in Germany. Or as a provocation against England, which this week is delighted to have moved on from the group play. Why wasn't football created when some gentlemen met in London one October day in 1863, then, as Norwegian supporters and media take for granted?

No, not according to the new official teaching of the International Football Ban (FIFA). After several years of investigation, President Joseph S. Blatter, at FIFA's 100 annual celebration in Beijing, declared it 15. July 2004, that the football sport originated from the city of Linzi, in Shandong Province on China's northeast coast.

"Thank you China, the birthplace of football sports. Football started in China and the future of sport belongs to Asia, ”said Peter Veleppan of the Asian Football Confederation.

Pelé himself then held a show in front of the Great Wall of China – where he showed how similar "caju" is to today's football artistry, best performed by Brazilians.

Caju? Yes, it is the first documented name – which directly translated "kick ball" – of the sport of football that is now ravaging the whole world. It was first prepared during the Han period from 206 BC. Both fiction, military annals and pottery testify to the popular sport. Most people, the upper class and emperors like Huan-Ti (132-168) loved football, and the players gained high status in society ..

A leather ball was used on a rectangular track, where the goal of the two teams was to score on their own net goals between two poles. And it was only allowed to use his feet, chest and shoulders, just as Ronaldinho does today.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-906), the sport evolved further by the fact that the football now contained an air-filled bladder, which increased the level of precision. Illustrations and descriptions from 1322 show that the mesh target was then 10 meters high. In 1389, the game was so popular that Ming Dynasty Emperor Zhu Yanzhang had to ban it so people could spend their time on more sensible things.

At this time, the sport spread westwards to a Europe that gradually opened up to the world – and to an England where for a few centuries still to be used in good British rugby tradition.

Yes, but modern football matters, some would say. But even then, football will be typically English. Apart from a questionable victory at home four decades ago, England have done remarkably poorly in the World Cups. And if we keep in mind that football is a women's sport, China will again come out the best. Not only did China host the first women's soccer championship in 1990, and the upcoming 2007. There are also Chinese women who have been most frequent in the World Cup and Olympic finals, just beaten by the United States. It goes into a long historical tradition, since caju was a widespread sport among China's ladies, as the painter Du Jin of Zhenjiang showed in the 1400 century.

The words of the poet Li You (55-135) are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago:

“The ball is round, the court is rectangular,

With an honest heart and balanced thoughts /

No one can find anything wrong with wrong decisions

If football is regulated this way /

How much does that not mean for daily life? ”

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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