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British Library displays The Football Association's 1863 Minute Book
Roy Hodgson and Greg Dyke looking at FA Minute Book in the British Library Treasures Gallery (c).

LONDON.- The British Library today announces that the 1863 FA Minute Book, valued at £2.5 million, forms the centrepiece of its first ever football display marking the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.

Handwritten and compiled 150 years ago by Ebenezer Cobb Morley, the 1863 FA Minute Book, containing the 13 original laws of football, goes on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery alongside some of the world’s most significant books including the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio and Captain Scott’s diary.

The Football Association formed on 26th October 1863 at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London with the aim of creating a single set of regulations for playing the game. The 1863 FA Minute Book documents these historically important meetings as well as recording the establishment of the world’s oldest cup competition, The FA Cup, and the organisation of the first international football match. It is the most significant book in the history of football, now played and watched by billions across the world.

Jude England, Head of Social Sciences at the British Library said, “We’re delighted to display the iconic FA Minute Book alongside our treasures of the Library’s collections. Exploring football history through the minute book and quirky football artefacts drawn from our archive, this display is be our first on British football and a fantastic opportunity for visitors to the Library from the UK and around the world to celebrate 150 years of Association Football.”

Greg Dyke, Chairman of The Football Association comments, “The importance of the 1863 FA Minute Book cannot be underestimated. Without it, quite simply, the world would be without its most popular sport. As The FA approaches its 150th birthday, it is fitting that the book is going on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery at the British Library. This not only reflects how football has become interwoven into the fabric of our society, it also offers the public a glimpse into the origins of the nation’s favourite game”

The British Library football exhibition also includes a Guide to Referees from the 1930s complete with 20 diagrams explaining the offside rule, an early twentieth century book including advice on the football temperament and a pocket guide for spectators on the interpretation of the rules.

From humble beginnings The FA now helps to support seven million people playing the game at grassroots level across the country, right the way through to the elite level of 24 England teams.

To find out more about the 1863 FA Minute Book and The FA’s 150th anniversary please visit

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