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Football killed more people than sword fighting in Tudor times

December 17, 2011 - London

A historian has discovered that more people have died playing football than sword fighting in the 16th century during Tudor times.

According to a new research, seven footballers were killed after clashes in English villages between 1500 and 1575, the Daily Mail reported.

Records show the sport was more violent with physical clashes and contact resulting in people being badly injured and accidentally crushed.

The game involved dozens of players competing against one another.

Players would clash violently in a sport that was similar in style to American football - but without the padding.

Oxford University historian Dr Steven Gunn has uncovered the facts after he examined the Tudor coroner's records.

Although the modern game was born in the late 19th century, the origins of football go back centuries.

The first recorded game took place in London in 1170 and was recorded by William FitzStephen.

Matches would spring up on an ad-hoc basis across the country.

The violent fixtures would go on for hours, if not days and deaths were not uncommon.

Some historians have said that the sport was first started as a war game and was often played between villages.

It is believed that although it was called football, players could pick the ball up and run with it as well as kick it.

Despite repeated attempts to crackdown on the sport the game was never killed off.

Back then matches lasted for two hours and 40 players were involved.

Football was the second most dangerous sport during the period - beaten only by the death toll of 56 from archery.

Of the seven footballers to die while playing the game, two men were accidentally stabbed with a knife in the process of tackling an opponent.

Others suffered internal injuries from hefty falls while one player died from a broken leg.

The Sheffield Code - the world's oldest football rulebook was written in 1858 and is seen as the basis of the modern game.


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