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The FA was formed there on 26 October 1863, a Monday evening.
The captains, secretaries and other representatives of a dozen London and suburban clubs playing their own versions of football met “for the purpose of forming an Association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of the game”.
The announcement of the birth of ‘The Football Association Challenge Cup’ ran to just 29 words: “That it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete”. Charles Alcock, then 29, had been The FA’s secretary for just over a year when he had his vision of a national knockout tournament.
*Civil Service FC, who now play in the Southern Amateur League’s Senior Division One, are the only surviving club of the eleven who signed up to be FA members at that first meeting in 1863, when they were listed as the War Office.
Apparently, many of them felt that competition would lead to unhealthy rivalry and even bitterness.
The first Cup season turned out to be quite truncated with withdrawals and byes.
They ran their own Cup competitions, inspired enthusiasm and provided the framework for hundreds of new teams. Some clubs in the north, enamoured with The FA Cup, saw nothing wrong in profit and success or in paying a man for doing his job.
It led them away from the concept of amateurism, cherished by clubs in the south, and it forced The FA to formally legalise professionalism in 1885.