Five legends in football history: which is true?

Updated on 06/28/2022 at 7:13 PM

  • The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. Whoever scores more goals wins. And in the end, it’s always the Germans. This makes sense, right?
  • No, things are not always as clear as they are told. Facts and fiction often mingle in the history of football.
  • Many legends have emerged, but a lot of knowledge has also been lost in the early decades. It is important to bring light into darkness. Here are five legends from football history.

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#1: Konrad Koch brought football to Germany: False

The history of German football always begins with Konrad Koch in Braunschweig. However, this is just a myth. The myth spreads very easily. Not least through a movie about Konrad Koch with Daniel Bruhl or through a TV documentary that aired only a few years ago.

Even the rules by which Koch taught his students at the Martino-Katharineum in Braunschweig survived. If you look at the small brochure, you can already see the drawing of the lawn field: this is not football, but very similar to rugby.

It would be correct: The English brought football to Germany. Or: Konrad Koch brought rugby to Germany.

How did the legend originate? Until the 1880s, “soccer” was a collective term for a variety of games, including rugby and soccer/football (“soccer”), when there was no such clear distinction. All games were called football, including rugby, which Konrad Koch brought to Germany. In the FA rules, there was previously a feature of fair hunting or sometimes relegation to determine tied matches.

By the way, the first documented football match (= without handball allowed) took place in September 1875 in Lüneburg. English merchants and vacationers brought her with them, they played football together in the gardens and attracted interest. This is how football really came to Germany.

No. 2: In the first German rules (Jenna Grammar, 1896) it says: “The place shall be free of trees and bushes”: False

And three times wrong: Jena’s rules were published in 1893 and are not the first German rules. The oldest German football rules known to date are the Rules of the German Footballers Association since 1890, an association of football clubs in Berlin with a national focus. In addition, the Jena rules did not apply to all of Germany (and they were not supposed to be), but only to the Jena football club.

But the biggest misunderstanding is that the rules state that the playground must be clear of trees and shrubs, because there was a misreading here: bushes are actually stones. Admittedly, shrubs are also an obstruction on the football field, but they are usually very resilient and do not change direction as clearly as stones.

It would be correct: The first rules of the Jena Football Club (the Jena Rules, 1893) state: “The playing field shall be free of trees and stones.”

How did the legend originate? There is simply a misreading here, because Jena’s grammar was written in Old German script. Perhaps there was confusion with the general. In short: here someone has inadvertently gone through something wrong and it is copied without further examination.

No. 3: In 2020, we celebrated 50 years of women’s football in Germany: False

Women’s football was played in Germany prior to 1970, and so successfully that many other national and international associations, faced with the imminent loss of power, had no choice but to allow women’s football. They hoped that they would be able to keep it small for their own good if they were part of the association.

It would be correct: Women’s football has existed in Germany for 100 years. W: After the 1954 World Cup, so many women wanted to play football that the German Football Association banned them from playing in the stadiums of its members.

How did the legend originate? Mara Pfeiffer took an in-depth look at the history of women’s football in Germany last week.

It is important to note that the ban does not apply in any way to the whole of Germany, but only to members of the German Football Association, ie only to the Federal Republic of Germany. Women’s football was never banned in the GDR, but it was also not encouraged.

No. 4: The protective hand is not a punishable handball: foul

Even ruling papers from 1929 and 1930 refer to this, although the term “protective hand” has yet to be defined. “Reflexive actions” or “reflexive motions” are still used here: if you hold your hand or hands in a protective manner in front of your face, you risk a deliberate hand blow, because it can veer away or degenerate.

It would be correct: There is no protective hand. There is no and there is no.

How did the legend originate? The term protective hand was first used in the German Football Association’s referee newspaper in 1931, although the then-national coach and author of the article, Otto Neers, only quoted the term and apparently did not know it beforehand.

He describes a case in which a German referee named Weingärtner decided to protect his hand in an international match between Sweden and Norway and later explained in an interview that this was common practice in Germany (spoiler: it wasn’t).

Mink clarified that the rules do not contain the term protective hand. However, he then stated, contrary to reports in the ruling newspapers of 1929 and 1930, that the ruling could give a hand of protection if he was 100 per cent sure of no intent. In this way he demonstrated – perhaps more prominently than Weingärtner’s interview in Swedish Idrottsbladet – the myth that inadvertently raising hands in front of the face should not be considered an intentional handball, but a protective pawn.

No. 5: Yellow and Red Cards Presented at the 1970 World Cup: False

Warnings and dismissals were given orally. This has not always been easy with international matches due to language barriers. After an accident at the 1966 World Cup, English referee Ken Aston came up with the idea of ​​giving certain signs of warnings and expulsions: a yellow and a red card. According to his own statement, he had the idea at a traffic light.

Soon, FIFA was excited that the Aston idea was not only tested at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, but also at the 1968 Olympic Football Tournament (also in Mexico) and then released as a recommendation.

It would be correct: Yellow and red cards were introduced for the 1970/71 season. They were previously tested at the 1968 Olympic Football Tournament and the 1970 World Cup.

How did the legend originate? There is clearly a misunderstanding because the cards were already on display at the 1970 World Cup.

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