azzurri, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, derby, FC, hat-trick, soccer & why there are 
four UK teams


 From: (Stefano Tine')
 Date: Wed, 29 Jun 1994 18:41:06 GMT (Iain Mitchell) writes:
> Can any Italian footy fan please end my torment and tell me why Italy play in
> a blue strip, when the national flag is green, white and red.

Blue (actually light blue, "azzurro" in italian, that's why the team players
are called "gli azzurri"; that's also why the italian boat for America's Cup
some editions ago was called "Azzurra") is the color of the real family
of Savoia, that is the real family of Piedmont who unified Italy last
century becoming king of Italy.
The tri-colours present flag is a Napoleon "gift". Til Italy was a kingdom
we had a central symbol, once again Savoia's. Luckily, after the second
world war we become a Republic dropping that symbol and differentiating
a slight bit from Mexico's flag.. (all this frenchmen without fantasy
all over the world..:)

From: Garry Archer ( 
Subject: CONCACAF and CONMEBOL (was Re: CONCACAF and WC94)
Date: 13 Dec 91 16:02:43 GMT

CONCACAF stands for:

        Confederacio'n Norte-Centroamericana y del Caribe de Fu'tbol
        CO             N     C     A               CA        F

It was formed in 1961 from members of the virtually defunct
North American Football Conferation (NAFC) formed in 1939 (United States,
Cuba and Mexico) and the Confederacio'n Centroamericana y del Caribe de
Fu'tbol (CCCF) formed in 1938 (Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica,
Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezeula).

In 1961 FIFA supported a merger of North America with Central America
and the Caribbean and CONCACAF was organised.  Its charter members
were: Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the Netherlands Antilles.

CONMEBOL stands for:

        Confederacio'n Sudamericana de Fu'tbol
        CON                ME              BOL    (best I can figure it!)

CONMEBOL, founded in 1916 by Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil and Chile, is
the oldest continental conferation in the world.  Paraguay joined in 1917
Peru in 1924, Bolivia in 1925, Ecuador in 1927, Colombia (originally
with CCCF) in 1940 and Venezuela (originally with CCCF) in 1952.  Guyana
and Surinam are affiliated with CONCACAF.  French Guiana remains (remained?)
attached to the Fe'de'ration Francaise de Football as a French colony but
pending their international affiliation (if it hasn't happened already) will
be absorbed into CONCACAF.

[Note: According to S.F.Mandelburger (, the current name for
COMNEBOL is CSF: Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol. -SO 3/95]

From: Garry Archer ( 
Subject: Re: Why is it called a "derby?"
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 1994 20:56:20 GMT (Ashley Birch) writes:

>According to the book 'The Pride of Manchester: A History of the Manchester
>Derby Matches' the derivation of "derby" is somewhat obscure. They offer
>two solutions, the first is that it was a rivalry between two small church
>teams in the town of Derby (they are named) in the mid 1800's. The second,
>which I much prefer is that it's named after the famous football match
>played every year on Shrove Tuesday at Ashbourne in Derbyshire. In this
>match the village (now actually a town) divides into two and the goals are
>something like 2 miles apart (not sure exactly), the aim is to score in the
>oppositions goal! The teams consist of all the menfolk and the match is
>somewhat boisterous! This match has, as far as I know been played for a
>very long time,  certainly before football proper and could even have pagan
>origins. I can check this in a book I have at home. Needless to say there
>are many injuries and intense rivalry.

Spot on Ashley, well, almost, but more of that in a minute.

Ashley's book gives two solutions.  The correct solution is a sort of an
amalgamation of those two.

The term "derby" is derived from the annual match played in Derby
(pronounced "Darby") between the parishes of St. Peter's and All Saints
on Shrove Tuesday.  Unfortunately, however, it was last contested on
Shrove Tuesday in 1846.

True derbies are indeed played intra city, town or village (hamlet, etc) and
_not_ inter city, town, etc.  Hundreds of years ago, it was often at holiday
times when the citizens went out onto the streets to celebrate.  But troubles
began when neighbouring parishes or regions of the city would meet.   Brawls
became common place.  Eventually, as folks became more civil towards each
other (as Christianity and other religions began to flourish), the "brawls"
became more organised.  Ball games would ensue.  Some kind of football was
the most popular event.  Everyone would play.  The game would begin
somewhere between the two parishes or regions and the sides would attempt
to get the ball into a goal in their opponents parish.  The goal could have
been a door, or a wall... or a whole building.  There were few rules.  The
ball could be kicked, or picked up and thrown.  There were _no_ fouls or

This practice appears to have died out with the advent of organised sport
in the late 18th, early 19th Centuries.

Except in one village in England at least.  At least it is the most famous
case.  As Ashley points out, it is the annual Shrove Tuesday (or is it Ash
Wednesday?) football match in the Derbyshire village of Ashbourne.

The whole town plays.  Windows are boarded up.  The goals are miles apart
and miles wide!  There are no rules other than to score, you must get the
ball into the "goal".  I don't believe many goals are ever scored, owing
to the vast number of players, the terrain and the distances.

It is still played to this day.

 From: (Garry Archer)
 Date: Wed, 26 Jul 1995 
 Subject: Re: NAS FC?

What FC stands for depends on the language, but in English it means 
"Football Club".

Many amateur "soccer clubs" in the United States still prefer the "FC"
after their name to the more common "SC" ("Soccer Club") which is more
meaningful in North America.  These clubs are usually old and are often
heavily ethnically influenced from players and officials originally from
Europe and other parts of the world.

In our Over-30 league here in Connecticut we have a Glastonbury Celtic FC,
for example, that is operated out of the Irish-American Home in Glastonbury.

My own Over-30 team is called Madison AFC -- that is my influence!  The
"AFC" stands for "Association Football Club".  It is not uncommon for many
teams throughout the world to have this acronym not only after their name
but before it too.  One example that springs to mind immediately is the
official name for AFC Bournemouth in England.

Clubs may prefer AFC to FC whenever another type of football is popular
in the area.  But the other football clubs may make their own distinctions
too.  For example, in England a club may have "RFC" after their name.  This
means "Rugby Football Club" -- or it may be "RUFC" for Rugby Union Football
Club or "RLFC" for Rugby League Football Club.

Also, some clubs may participate in several types of sports and need an
acronym to make the distinction.  Two examples of such clubs which
participate in multiple sports are PSV Eindohoven in The Netherlands
and Real Madrid FC in Spain.

Real Madrid FC is actually "Real Madrid Club de Futbol" but they were
founded in 1898 as "Madrid Foot-ball Club".  It remained principally a
football club until around 1943 when Don Santiago Bernabeu, a former
centre-forward with the club in the 1910s, became new club president
and owner.  The club was founded -- and captained -- by Don Juan Padros
Rubio, whom also was the first club president.  When Bernabeu took over
he resolved to build a club of winning teams that at the same time might
assume a family-like atmosphere and contribute to the community that
supported it.  Their 101,000+ capacity stadium is named after this
president -- the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Philips, the giant electronics manufacturer based in Eindhoven, The
Netherlands (more specifically in Holland), wanted to provide a sports
club for its employees.  The club, founded on 31st August, 1913, became
known as "Philips Sport Vereniging" or simply Philips Sport Club.  Voetbal
(soccer) was only one of its sports.  They now play at the Philipsstadion
in Eindhoven, capacity 30,000.

It may be interesting to note, that many soccer clubs around the world,
whether they be professional or amateur, were founded on the principle
of being just that -- clubs, or more exactly social clubs.  Even the
professional clubs of today still invoke a tone of being social rather
than a business, even though to survive they must operate like a business.

In contrast, many sports ventures in the United States begin as franchises
and operate strictly as a business that offer a product.  If the product
does not sell very well, the franchise just moves to another market. I
still shudder whenever I recall in a copy of Soccer America earlier this
year Hank Steinbrecher said that soccer should be viewed as a business in
the United States.

Sorry to ramble on a bit -- but otherwise this would just become one a
one-liner "FC = Football Club" and I thought it might be more interesting
to dig a little deeper!

 From: Garry Archer ( 
 Subject: Origin of "Hat Trick"
 Date: Tue Feb 23 08:43:29 1988

If you read some English dictionaries, they give:

"hat-trick n., in cricket, taking of three wickets with three successive

This is analogous to getting three batters out in three successive pitches in

The origin is definitely in cricket.  After taking three wickets (getting
three batsmen out) in three SUCCESSIVE balls, the bowler (pitcher) was awarded
a commemorative hat.  In 19th Century soccer, a player had to score three
goals, without any other player scoring, on either team to interrupt the
sequence before he was said to have "scored a hat-trick".

Somewhere along the time line, that rule was relaxed and a player could score
his three goals at any time in the game with other players, again, either
team, scoring within his sequence.  The same, I suppose is now true of other
sports, including for example, hockey.

In the ancient days of cricket, the players were real gentlemen and played
in their top hats.  The commemorative hat awarded to someone who performed
the hat-trick may have been a new top hat.  Some believe that the new hat
was also passed around the team(s) so that the players could give money as
a further expression of their appreciation of this difficult feat.

From: Garry Archer ( 
Date: May 1991

    I am an Englishman that has taken on himself a personal crusade
to respond to comments regarding the use of the "American" word for
football.  I have seen them over and over again on the worldwide
computer news network, USENET, in its newsgroup
where I have been an active contributor for several years.

    To love the game of football is to love it's rich history also.
It particularly disturbs me when modern fans of the game less conversed 
in this history do not fully understand that the word "soccer" is an
English, _not_ American word derived from the second syllable of the
word "association".

    "Soccer" was originally called "association football" during the
formation of the Football Association in England in the 1860s.  This
was to maintain a distinction from the other football game being
organised in England at the same time based on the handling codes,
whilst Association Football conformed to the dribbling codes.  The
other football came to be known as "rugby" football, named after the
Rugby School in England, where it is said that a certain young student, 
William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball in his hands during an
association football  match and ran with it over the goal line.  Master 
Ellis asked his teacher, who was refereeing, if that was a goal.  The
reply was, "No, but it was a jolly good 'try'", which is where one of
the rugby scoring terms comes from.  Rugby Union was formally organised 
by 1871, but suffered another split by 1893 when Rugby League was
formed.  I digress.

    Near the end of 1863, Charles Wreford-Brown, who later became a
notable official of the Football Association, was asked by some friends 
at Oxford whether he cared to join them for a game of "rugger" (rugby).
He is said to have refused, preferring instead to go for a game of
"soccer"  - a play on the word "association".  The name caught on.

    English public schoolboys love to nickname things, then as much as
now.  The tendency is to add "er" to the end of many words.  Rugby [Union]
Football became "rugby", and then "rugger".  Association Football was
better know as "assoccer" and naturally evolved into "soccer" which is
much easier for a schoolboy to say...

    Therefore, the word "soccer" has been used in the mother country
of all football-type games since at least the mid-19th century.  The
word "football", however, was more descriptive of the game (i.e.
kicking a ball with the feet!) and was the term more frequently used.
The British exported the game, so naturally the word "football" was the
name mostly used all over the world.  In recent decades it has been
noted that the word "soccer" is apparently increasing in usage.  The
word "football" still appears in formal designations, however, in for
example, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).  The
word "soccer" is more commonly used in several countries around the
world that play other forms of football.  When Australians say
"football", they mean Australian Rules football instead [Well in southern
states they do, in the north they mean Rugby League -Ed].  The Irish
have Gaelic football.  In the USA and Canada, of course, there is
Gridiron football.  Rugby Union, Rugby League, Australian Rules,
Gaelic, American and Canadian football all owe their roots to
Association football.  With the exception of Gaelic Football, they all
use an ovoid shaped ball.  None is as popular around the world as
Association football.

    "Football" is the world standard name for "soccer".  I always used
the word "football" (and still do, wherever I can).  The word "soccer", 
however, is engrained into the origins of the modern game of
association football as much as any other aspect of The Game much of
the world enjoys today.

    Finally, it must be remembered that British football, both
association and rugby, had been organised in the 19th century by
people in the upper echelons of the English educational system, from
"exotic" schools, colleges and universities as Harrow, Eton, Oxford
and Cambridge, just for starters.  As I stated earler, students of
the Victorian era, as much as now, loved nicknames and "soccer" and
"rugger" were the accepted everyday names for those people.  These
were sports for gentlemen.

    When the games were taken up by those less fortunate enough to
have received the higher (and more expensive) levels of education
the game of soccer became very popular with the masses.  Rugger, less
so.  As the rules became increasingly divergent between the two sports,
soccer became the people's sport and rugger remained more of a
"gentleman's" game.

    Ever heard the phrase, "Soccer is a gentleman's game played by
ruffians and Rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen"?

    So "soccer" was a fanciful, gentleman's name for the sport.  The
mere, common man started to call it "football" for the obvious reason
that it's a game about a ball kicked with the foot. The game, and the
word, was exported by British workers, students and merchant and naval
seamen all over the world in the latter 19th and early 20th century...
and the name, and the game, blossomed.

                   I prefer to call it "footy" myself!

				Yours in football, 
					Garry Archer

Subject: Re: Soccer! Your Countries national sport?
Date: 28 May 1997 22:10:05 GMT
From: (Dustin Christmann)

As anyone who's taken linguistics and/or communication theory will tell you,
the name of the game, the name of anything, is -- whatever best gets your point
across.  If you're talking to Italians, the name of the game is "calcio."  If
you're talking to Spanish-speaking people, the name is "futbol," and so on.

However, that is a bit of a dodge, so let's look at English, which does have
one single unambiguous, but awkward, name: Association Football.  "Football"
is a perfectly valid name for the game and is widely used, but does lend
itself to a bit of ambiguity in some English-speaking parts of the world and
thus is not The One True Name.  I'm sure that this'll disconcert the culturally
and linguistically chauvenistic amongst us, but the truth is that with
English in the late 20th century, the development of the language is not
charted solely by the inhabitants of a few islands in the North Sea.

Like it or not, the term "soccer" has no such ambiguities.  In no parts of the
English-speaking world does the word "soccer" mean anything BUT "association
football," but the world is full of people who suffer more for the existance
of a two-syllable, six-letter word that they do for the starving masses
in Somalia.  Such negative vibes speak against it's being The One True Name.

So if you're asking about English, the one "real" name, The One True Name
is of course "association football."  But both "football" and "soccer" are
both acceptable abbreviations, and any post championing one or the other as
The One True Name is so much ultra-conforming, mindless, plodding, and ulti-
mately timewasting prattle.

 From: (Garry Archer)
 Subject: Re: More places for other teams (less for Europeans)
 Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1993 17:04:35 GMT

Football has nothing to do with politics or sovereigns.  England,
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are four distinct, unique, independent
football associations representing their _country_ --- _not_ colonies, states
or provinces.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are countries.

They also are the oldest football associations in the world.
England (1863), Northern Ireland (as the Irish Football Association in 1880),
Scotland (1873) and Wales (1876).  In 1882 they formed the International
Football Association Board, 20 years before the birth of FIFA.

There's no politics here.  Just football.

How many times do we have to post this reminder?.....