Cambridgeshire

Stone for sculpture marking birth of football rules in Cambridge is cut

Football rules sculpture Image copyright Cambridge Rules 1848
Image caption Artists' impression of the sculpture marking the birth of rules for the game of football in Cambridge

Work on a sculpture to mark the first set of rules of football has begun after planning permission was given.

Cambridge University students first posted rules for the game in a city centre park in 1848 with elements later adopted by the Football Association.

A granite sculpture inscribed with the original rules in several languages will go on display on Parker's Piece.

It will go up next Spring and has been funded by S106 cash from developers.

It has been claimed the original rules of football were developed by students playing on Parker's Piece with some people suggesting the park in Cambridge is therefore the birthplace of football.

Image copyright Cambridge Rules 1848
Image caption The sculpture will be located at the heart of Parker's Piece, Cambridge
Image copyright Gordon Young
Image caption An early proposal by one artist for a Subbuteo-style referee sculpture was scrapped in 2013

A plaque at the park already celebrates how the "Cambridge Rules" became the "defining influence on the 1863 Football Association rules".

Artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie won a commission from the city council to create a piece of commemorative art, a large stone cut into nine pieces engraved with the original 1848 laws of the game in different languages.

The four cornerstones will stay on Parker's Piece, but the others will go to a location in five continents of the world.

"It will be a sculpture that is really worldwide, literally," said Mr Gabie.

Both the artists have gone to Portugal to see the block of granite to be used for the artwork being cut.

Image copyright Cambridge Rules 1848
Image caption Fans have been sending their favourite stadium photos to the sculpture website, from Buenos Aires to a slightly smaller audience at Lostock St Gerards, Preston

In order to explore the international significance of the game, a website, Cambridge Rules 1848, was launched asking for people's football stories from around the world, including personal anecdotes.

"I guess what's so exciting about this is that we have a patch of green grass in the middle of Cambridge where those first rules were written but now football is so international and we felt it was really important to recognise that," Mr Gabie said.

As well as S106 funding managed by Cambridge City Council, the artwork is also being supported by the National Football Museum in Manchester.

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