The Football Association has kicked off a nationwide search to find living descendants of the founding fathers of football and has called upon the public to come forward with information on the eight men that established the world’s most popular sport 150 years ago.

Hailing from across the country, surprisingly little is known about these trailblazers who gathered together on October 26, 1863 in the Freemasons Tavern, London to draft the 13 original laws of association football.

From humble beginnings The FA, now in its 150th anniversary year, helps to support seven million people playing the game at grassroots level in this country, right the way through to the elite level of 24 England teams.

The Founding Fathers of football are:

1. Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)
2. Arthur Pember (1835-1886)
3. Charles William Alcock (1842-1907)
4. Francis Maule Campbell (1843-1920)
5. John Forster Alcock (1841-1910)
6. Herbert Thomas Steward (1839-1915)
7. George Twizell Wawn (1840-1914)
8. James Turner

Living descendants that can be identified and located will be sent an invitation to a special ceremony at Wembley Stadium in October, where their ancestors will be honoured.

Arsenal players Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott have been supporting the FA in their search and contributed to a special video appealing for the public’s help, which can be seen here.

Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers

Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “I have really enjoyed in being involved in The FA’s anniversary year. As well as playing for England in World Cup qualifiers, it has been great to learn so much about the history of football.

"It is fascinating to find out about the people that shaped the game we all know and love today. What they did was incredible and deserves wider recognition. I also understand more now about the work The FA does, especially at grassroots level. Football has come such a long way but the passion and pride people have for the game in this country is as strong as it ever was.”

Walcott added: “I think it’s great that we are able to find more out about the eight men that founded association football, especially in The FA’s 150th anniversary year. We owe them so much. The fact that the original laws of the game haven’t changed too much in a century and a half shows what a good job they did.”

To find out more about the search for living descendants of the founding fathers, please visit If you have any information that can assist, please email

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3 May 2013