- Posted: 6:34 PM, October 18, 2011
Experts believed that prior to the 19th century, in which the first international soccer match took place between England and Scotland in 1872, the game existed only in a barbaric form in which teams of 100 would literally beat each other to get their hands on the ball over a two-mile (32km) long pitch.
But new evidence has emerged that royalty used to hold games in their courtyards in the late 15th century, The (London) Times reported Tuesday.
Players were only allowed to use their feet and were commended for their skillful touches on the ball, a leather-bound pig's bladder, like one found in Mary Queen of Scots' bed chamber in 1540.
Richard McBrearty, curator at the Scottish Football Museum in Glasgow, also found a manuscript of accounts from King James IV of Scotland, an extract of which, shows that he paid two shillings for a bag of "fut ballis" as early as 11 April, 1497.
"Football was more of an evolution than a 19th-century revolution," said McBrearty, who made his discovery as he re-cataloged old documents held at the National Library of Scotland.
Among the items was the diary of a nobleman, Sir Francis Knollis, who was ordered by Elizabeth I to hold Mary under house arrest. It details a match played in front of the monarch in 1569, in which players kicked the ball around a 55 yard (50m) long field where trees were used for goalposts.