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Museum of History presents the story of football

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is a global phenomenon that has no boundaries in race or geography. While the World Cup 2006 is proceeding at full steam in Germany, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the National Football Museum in England have joined forces to present the “Football” exhibition, organised by the Hong Kong Museum of History in collaboration with the Hong Kong Football Association.

More than 150 items carefully selected by the National Football Museum and the Hong Kong Football Association will be on display from tomorrow (June 21) until September 18 at the Museum of History.

Through exhibits, valuable photographs and audio-visual programmes, the exhibition traces the history of football right back to its origins. It provides visitors with a panorama of football’s historical landmarks, such as the formation of the English Football Association (FA) and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the development of match rules, the birth of the World Cup and the emergence of those football giants who populate the game's hall of fame. It also reviews the glorious days of Hong Kong football.

The exhibition was officially opened today (June 20) at the Museum of History by the Secretary for Home Affairs Dr Patrick Ho Chi-ping, the President of the Hong Kong Football Association, Mr Timothy Fok Tsun-ting; the Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany of Hong Kong and Macau SARs, Mr Frank Burbach; the Special Exhibitions Director of the National Football Museum in England, Mr Mark Bushell; and the Chief Curator of the Museum of History, Dr Joseph Ting Sun-pao.

The exhibition consists of nine zones - “Origins of the Game”, “The Football Association, The Spread of the Association Game and The First Football League”, “Football Spreads Overseas”, “The Story of FIFA”, “The World Cup”, “The Superstars of the Past and Present”, “European and English Football”, “Women’s Football” and “Hong Kong Football”.

The origin of football has been debated for years. Different ball games appeared in China, Japan, Mexico, ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. The zone, “Origins of the Game”, features the origins, early development and changes in football. At the China Football Expo 2004 in Beijing, FIFA declared that football originated in China. In ancient China, the ball game was known as “cuju”. On July 15, 2004, the Asian Football Confederation formally recognised that football was born in Linzi, the capital of Qi state, in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States period (475-221 BC), more than 2,400 years ago.

The highlight exhibits in this zone include a “cuju” replica, a statue of Charles Wreford-Brown inform the late 1880s, a painted ball used in the Kirkwall games on the Scottish isle of Orkney and an etching, “Football in the streets of London”, painted in 1820s.

England may not have been the birthplace of football, but it has certainly played a key role in popularising the sport. Zones in “The Football Association, The Spread of the Association Game and the First Football League” and “Football Spreads Overseas” focus on this aspect of the game’s development. On October 26, 1863, in London, a group of Englishmen founded the FA, the first of its kind in the world and established the world’s first standardised football rules. In 1871, the FA organised the Football Association Challenge Cup, the world’s oldest football competition. The event proved a phenomenal success, prompting countries such as Scotland, Spain, Italy and Germany to host similar contests.

The highlight exhibits in these zones include a football used in the early 20th century, the painting, “Football at Rio de Janeiro” by S Brandao, and a 1930s British biscuit tin with football decorations.

“The Story of FIFA” and “The World Cup” zones trace the development of football in the world. On May 21, 1904, FIFA was established in Paris, France. Member countries were restricted to the European nations, France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. England joined the association in 1905. After 1909, FIFA began to accept members from outside Europe. In 1930, it organised the first World Cup. The event, held every four years, brings together the world's top players, thrilling fans all over the globe with their formidable skills.

The highlight exhibits in these zones include a statue of a mounted horse presented to the England Football Association by the German Football Association in 1938, the FIFA Fair Play medal in 1998, a replica of Jules Rimet trophy, a match ball used in the first World Cup Final in 1930, the posters of the World Cup Finals in 1930, 1950, 1966, 1970 and 1978 and a puppet of Paul Gascoigne’s “Spitting Image” from the British TV comedy.

Outstanding football players and coaches are featured in the “Superstars of the Past and Present” zone. They include goalkeepers Arthur Wharton, Lev Yashin, Dino Zoff, Sepp Maier and Peter Schmeichel; defenders Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, Franco Baresi, Paulo Maldini and Roberto Carlos; midfielders Socrates, Michel Platini, Paul Gascoigne, Lothar Matthaus and David Beckham; forwards Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Pele, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona; coaches Vittorio Pozzo, Bob Paisley, Giovanni Trapattoni, Sir Alex Ferguson, Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho.

The highlight exhibits in this zone include the West Germany shirt worn by Franz Beckenbauer against France in 1968, a Real Madrid shirt worn by Alfredo di Stefano in 1953, a model of David Beckham’s foot, George Best’s football boots and the football shirts signed by superstars like Pele, Ronaldinho, Beckham and Michael Owen.

The seventh zone, “European & English Football”, introduces the important football matches in Europe such as Germany’s The Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A. In addition, The Premier League in England features familiar teams known as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. The highlight exhibits in this zone include a pen-and-ink drawing of David Beckham, a 1959 Real Madrid shirt and the European Super Cup medal.

“Women’s Football” zone explains the origins, development, ban and survival of women’s football. The growth of women’s football and the Women’s World Cup held today are also presented in this zone. The highlight exhibits in this zone include the newspaper cartoon featuring the famous Dick Kerr Ladies in 1921, a selection of postcards by Fred Spurgin from the early 1900s, which featured women playing football, a postcard of the great Dick Kerr Ladies Football Club and a pair of football boots worn by the great Lily Parr in the 1920s.

The last zone concentrates on the history of Hong Kong’s football from its birth to maturity, from the post-war period to the 1970s and from the 1980s to the present. After Hong Kong was ceded to Britain, football remained an exclusive sport played by foreigners only. In 1908, the first Chinese football association, South China Football Club, was established. In 1914 the Hong Kong Football Association was founded and organised large-scale official tournaments. From the 1930s to 1980s, a host of talented players rose to fame. Football fever quickly spread across the territory and attracted scores of fans.

The exhibits in this zone include the Hong Kong Football Club commemorative plates in the 1990s, a trophy for the 1923 Hong Kong-Shanghai Interport Competition, a commemorative shield for the 1957 Merdeka Tournament, a trophy for the 1st to 10th Viceroy Cup, the “Seiko Sports” Magazine published in October, 1983, and a trophy for the 2003 East Asian Football Championship Preliminary Competitions.

To tie in with the exhibition, a fine gold football autographed by the famous Brazilian footballer Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, on loan from 3D-GOLD Jewellery, is on display at the Lobby of the Museum of History.

Visitors with admission tickets to the “Football” exhibition can participate in a lucky draw to win one of three gold football ornaments sponsored by 3D-GOLD Jewellery. The draws will take place on July 21, August 18 and September 20 respectively. One gold football will be given away in each draw. For details, please visit the Museum of History’s website or call 2724 9042.

The Hong Kong Museum of History is located at 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays except public holidays. Admission to the “Football” exhibition is $20 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. No free admission on Wednesdays.

For details, please visit the Museum of History's website at or call 2724 9042.

Ends/Tuesday, June 20, 2006

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