Football is a family of team sports that, to varying degrees, kick a ball to score. Unqualified, the word football usually means the form of football that is most popular where the word is used. One of the sports generally referred to as football is club football (referred to as football in some countries). Rost football (in particular American football or Canadian football); Australian Rules Football; Rugby football (either Rugby League or Rugby Union); and Gaelic football. These different forms of football are referred to as football codes.
There are a number of references to traditional, ancient or prehistoric ball games played in many different parts of the world. The contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games in English public schools in the 19th century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these football rules to be extended to areas with British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. Different regional codes were already developing towards the end of the nineteenth century: Gaelic football, for example, consciously incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to preserve its heritage. The Football League was founded in England in 1888 and was the first of many professional football competitions. During the 20th century, some of the various types of football became the most popular team sports in the world.
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