Blood and guts

This content was published on March 17, 2008 - 15:08

Football and rugby both originate from a popular game called "soule", once practised in the four corners of medieval Europe. "The restrictions given by the authorities attest to the brutality of a game in which the players leave others lame or sometimes dead around the field," Alfred Wahl wrote in La Balle au Pied (Football) (Ed. Gallimard). "The encounters were extremely violent and letters of forgiveness have been preserved from the 14th Century pardoning clumsy people who cracked open an adversary's head instead of hitting the ball! Sometimes one used hooked sticks resembling our modern hockey sticks to grab the ball!" Philippe Villemus explained in Le Dieu football (The Football God) (Ed. Eyrolles)


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