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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Aberdeen nets football invention
Tartan army
Aberdeen and Scotland could claim to be the home of football
A book published in the 17th century suggests the modern game of football may have been invented in Aberdeen.

The book Vocabula was written by city teacher David Wedderburn in 1633, more than 200 years before the Football Association (FA) was formed in England.

The "amazing discovery" is written in Latin and describes playing a match and passing the ball.

A 1711 edition was stored at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and is now on display in Germany.

Mr Wedderburn wrote: "Let's pick sides. Those who are on the outside, come over here. Kick off, so that we can begin the match...Pass it here."

'Fantastic claim'

Richard McBrearty, curator of the Scottish Football Museum, said: "The book is the first evidence we have come across of a passing game with goalkeepers and players passing the ball to score goals."

It is generally believed that the modern game has its origins in disorganised and spontaneous "mob football", he said.

And that English public schools, such as Eton and Harrow, "civilised" the game by drawing up rules that encouraged players to kick the ball and forbid them from carrying it.

However, McBrearty said Wedderburn's book suggested that while England was pursuing a "dribbling game" in the mid 1800s, Scotland was already playing a much more structured game with team formations and passing.

The influence of this book is quite tremendous - it rewrites part of football history
Professor Wulf Koepke
Museum fur Volkerkund

"The other interesting thing is that the FA was not formed until 1863," he continued.

"In the first FA rule book there is no mention of goalkeepers and the game is based more on a rugby-type structure, where players could not pass the ball forward.

"Scotland has a fantastic claim to have developed the modern game." he said.

"It is frankly an amazing discovery and one which is hard to dispute."

Mr McBrearty said further research by the Scottish Football Museum had shown that many of the first Football Association clubs comprised of Scottish players.

These players, with their superior technique, were known as the "Scottish professors", he said.

The book is on display at the Museum fur Volkerkunde in Hamburg as part of a World Cup football exhibition.

Professor Wulf Koepke of the Museum fur Volkerkunde said: "The influence of this book is quite tremendous - it rewrites part of football history."


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