Google is today celebrating the 187th birthday of Ebenezer Cobb Morley. He was one of the founding members of FA (Football Association), the governing body of football in Great Britain, and the first person to draft official rules of the game in 1863. The two sides of the Google Doodle represent how the rules set by Morley brought order to the game, and helped define the way it is played even today.
Born in 1924, Morley was always a sports enthusiast. Though a student of law, Morley realized after joining Barnes Football Club, that the game was too unruly, and the needed more regulation. Following this, he even wrote to the sports newspaper Bell’s Life making his case to a wider set of people. This helped Morley organize a meeting where he was joined by leading members of football clubs across England, who all helped provide input for making new rules for football. They successfully agreed upon 13 rules, which were later drafted by Morley.
The 13 rules then went on to set a standard of play in England. They helped reduce violence in the game. The list also carried one of the most crucial rules of football, which today is known as Offside. This rule prevents players from permanently standing behind the opponent team’s defence line, trying to wait for a direct pass and score a goal.
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Moving forward, Morley helped establish the Football Association. He was the association’s first secretary and its second President, a position he held from 1867 to 1874. As a player, he played in the first ever match against Richmond in 1863, and scored in the first representative match, between the clubs of London and Sheffield on March 31 1866. He passed away in 1924 at the age of 91 years, and was buried in Barnes Cemetery in Barnes.