Mob Football, a Forerunner of Modern Football

“Mob football” was popular in medieval England. It involved an unlimited number of players, a pig’s bladder and very few rules. Due to its destructive nature, it was banned by King Edward II in 1314: “There is great noise in the city caused by hustling over large balls…we forbid… on pain of imprisonment, such game to be used in the city in the future.”

Mob football in England

Mob football is the name given to some varieties of Medieval football, which emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages. Mob football was a local tradition in some places, and was often an annual event. Typically there were an unlimited number of players and very few rules. By some accounts, in some such events any means could be used to move the ball towards the goal, as long as it did not lead to manslaughter or murder.

Mob football is a forerunner of modern football such as rugby football, gridiron football and association football. However, the ancient style of football is still played in some parts of the United Kingdom, notably at Christmas and New Year.

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