9th January 2014 was the 150th anniversary of the first official game of football to FA rules. On that day, The Ball 2014 kicked off from Battersea Park in London, where that game was played, and travelled across Europe and the Americas to the World Cup in Brazil.
FC Barcelona and Spirit of Football announced a joint social initiative on 23rd January 2013. To kick it off, the first-team players all signed a ball called “The Spirit of Barça” — a replica of The Ball 2014. This special ball is visiting schools across Brazil, including schools in a number of favelas.
Sport Club Corinthians Paulista players make their mark on The Ball
The Ball kicks off at the site of the first official game to FA rules, which was toasted with “Success to football irrespective of creed or class”. Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest football club, predates this game by 5 years — yet its values of “Integrity, Respect and Community” reveal that the game was universally considered to have inclusion and tolerance at its core.
The Ball will be supporting Sheffield FC’s campaign to rebuild and relocate to Olive Grove, the original Home of Football. It will also visit some of football’s earliest clubs in the Americas in its role as “Protector of Football” in the 1857 Football “Club of Pioneers” programme, celebrating the heritage of the beautiful game and helping to connect some of its pioneering clubs.