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World Cup 2014: What if… football hadn’t been invented?

Baseball could have become the dominant global game

By Matthew Taylor   July 2014

Aston Villa football team in the late 19th century.

Read more: Is the World Cup a poisoned chalice? Sol Campbell and Simon Kuper debate

On 26th October 1863, representatives of 12 clubs met at the Freemason’s Tavern in Great Queen Street, London, to discuss the creation of a common set of football rules. At the time, most teams played according to distinct rules, influenced by the games they had learnt at school and university. Some advocated a game where the ball could be carried and where “hacking” (kicking the shins)…

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