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Sheffield Football Association


Sheffield Football Association

Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association
File:Sheffield FA crest.png
Formation 1867 (1867)
Chief Executive James Hope-Gill
Chairman B.M.Jones
President M. Matthews
Affiliations The Football Association (1871)

The Sheffield and Hallamshire Football Association (originally called the Sheffield Football Association) was formed in Sheffield in 1867 and was the first County Football Association in England. Its teams adopted the Sheffield Rules of football up until 1878 when they were merged with the Football Association's rules. Its members include some of the oldest football clubs in the world, such as Sheffield and Hallam. Today, the County FA is responsible for the administration, control, promotion and development of grass-roots football within Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley, Worksop and Huddersfield.


Organised football started in Sheffield in 1857 with the birth of Sheffield Football Club and the creation of Sheffield Rules. By the early 1860s there were over 15 clubs in the Sheffield area and they were the first to start inter-club games. This was done with no formal body in overall control with Sheffield Rules used by the majority of clubs.

In 1867 it was decided that an association was needed to organise the Youdan Cup, the world's first football tournament. By this time Sheffield F.C. had decided not to play local clubs in favour taking the game to other parts of the country. A total of twelve clubs took part in the tournament, which was won by Hallam. A second cup, the Cromwell Cup, was played the next year. It was only open to teams under two years old and was won by The Wednesday.

On 2 December 1871, played the first inter-association game with the London Association, beating them 3–1 at Bramall Lane. Despite losing the game, the London Association (now known as the F.A.) became the primary association which led to the national adoption of the London rules. However, the Sheffield Association continued to have some influence and on 17 February 1872 proposed Rule VII introducing the corner-kick to the Association Rules.

Over the next few years, matches against the Associations of Birmingham, Glasgow, North Wales, Manchester and Staffordshire were arranged. Other non-association friendlies were played notably against the Wanderers, the Swifts and the Royal Engineers.

The first annual competition, the Sheffield Association Challenge Cup, was introduced in the 1876–77 season. This was joined by the Wharncliffe Charity Cup two years later. Both were won by Wednesday, who had become the dominant force in local football, in their first year.

The creep of professionalism began in 1876 when Wednesday brought down James Lang from Glasgow. He was officially hired by the club but received a job with no formal duties from one of the members of the club board. The association subsequently had to deal with open professionalism when members of The Zulus received payment for matches. A number of players were banned, so many in fact that it led to the abandonment of the 1882 Sheffield Challenge Cup final. In 1885, professionalism was made legal but the Sheffield Association, led by Charles Clegg and William Pierce-Dix remained firm opponents of professionalism in football.

In 1877 a rival association given the name Sheffield New was established in protest of Sheffield FA's decision not to allow any club under two years old to become a member. It would later change its name to Hallamshire Football Association. This situation persisted until the end of the 1886–87 season when a merger of the two associations was negotiated by Charles Clegg who took charge of the new association with Pierce-Dix employed as secretary.

The clubs of the Sheffield F.A. of 1877 were Albion, Artillery and Hallamshire Rifles, Attercliffe, Brightside, Brincliffe, Broomhall, Crookes, Exchange, Exchange Brewery, Fir Vale, Gleadless, Hallam, Heeley, Kimberworth, Millhouses, Norfolk, Norfolk Works, Owlerton, Oxford, Parkwood Springs, Philadelphia, Rotherham, Sheffield, Surrey, Thursday Wanderers, Wednesday.


The Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA still exists today, administering the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Senior League and Sheffield Sports and Athletic League outside of the FA, although its members may join the FA proper, as Sheffield and Hallam have done.

Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association was established in 1886 and is responsible for the administration, control, promotion and development of Association Football within a twenty-mile radius of Sheffield Cathedral. In June 2001, the Association was incorporated into a Private Company Limited by Guarantee (without a Share Capital). The financial aim of the Association is that any surpluses are used to further the development of footballing activities in the region.

The principal aims of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association Limited are to manage, develop and regulate football within the defined boundary in order to “use the power of football to build a better future”.

The County FA aims to increase participation, quality and the enjoyment of football through 4 key 'strategic pillars':

  • 'Football for life': lifelong participation in football
  • 'Opportunities for all' to participate in football
  • 'Football in Education’: focus on children/youth
  • 'Club Development’: clubs focused on development

The Association employs 18 full-time and part-time members of staff and offers a wide range of services to both its members and the local community. These services include the following:

  • Supports and administers clubs, league fixtures, referees, player registrations, representative football, a benevolent fund and cup competitions within the region for over 120,000 participants.
  • Upholds the Laws of the Game and ensures that all participants adhere to these laws through a fair discipline process.
  • Develops football ensuring that all members of society have access to the game without exclusion or prejudice.
  • Supports clubs, schools and other community groups to provide a safe and quality football experience for their participants, through a Charter Standard Scheme. This scheme also seeks to strengthen communities through the Community Club Award, providing a “cradle to grave” football experience for all members of the community.
  • Works in partnership with other agencies, including local authorities, local education authorities, schools, colleges, community groups, etc. to develop both individuals and groups through football.
  • Works with under represented groups including girls/women, youth, ethnic minorities, refugees and disabled participants.
  • Assists in securing grants and other funding for grassroots clubs and other community organisations designed to help them improve facilities, participation and quality.
  • Provides an extensive Coach Education and Medical Course Programme ensuring that all participants, often through subsidies, have access to quality provision and are able to “better themselves”.

The Sheffield & Hallamshire FA’s Governance Department has responsibility for all traditional aspects of the game, such as Membership Services, Discipline, County Cups, Player Registrations, Small Sided Football, Referees and PR and Marketing.

The Football Development Department manages, with a diverse range of partners, a football development programme for the football community in the area which includes a comprehensive education programme, covering all aspects of the game, with courses being run throughout the area. They also deal with Child Protection, Charter Standard, Women’s and Girls Football, Volunteer Development, Representative Football, a Schools Programme, Equity, Social Inclusion, Mini Soccer and grant funding through the Football Foundation.

It is of interest to note that the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA has in excess of 4500 affiliated teams and over 900 referees. The County runs seven cup competitions, two Representative Teams, and provides a service to a football community of approximately 120,000 people within the area each week.

Recently the County FA has won two National Football Development Awards for it’s work with Small Sided Football and Girls and Women’s Football. This is addition to being short listed for the Yorkshire & Humberside Business in the Community Award.

League competitions

Cup competitions

Notable former competitions

Notable chairmen

External links

  • Official Site


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