The Football Association, commonly known as the ‘FA’, is the governing body of football in England, as well as the Crown dependencies of Jersey, the Isle of Man and Guernsey.

It was founded in 1863 and is the oldest football association in the world.

To get you fully up-to-speed with the FA, we’ll take a look at its members of the FA, its role and how it squares up on the international football stage.


All professional football clubs in England (and six in Wales) are members of the FA.

It doesn’t govern the everyday running of the Premier League – this is taken care of by the Premier League Ltd.

However, the FA does have the power to veto any changes to league rules, as well as the appointment of the League Chief Executive and Chairman.

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Its role on home ground

The FA sanctions all domestic football matches, and is responsible for any purely football-related decisions. For example, it is the job of the FA to discipline players and managers for breaches of the league rules.

If the relevant international bodies introduce any new rules to the game, the FA must implement and enforce these changes for Premier League matches.

The FA must also work with FIFA to ensure that the schedules of Premier League fixtures don’t clash with international matches.

The FA in world football

The laws of the game

The FA drew up the very first official Laws of the Game in 1863, which would change slowly over time.

In 1938, the secretary of the FA, Stanley Rous, took on the job of making the rules simpler and easier to understand. Despite a number of small changes since then, the game we now recognise as football took full shape as a result of Rous’ changes.

Alongside the football associations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the FA was also a founding member of International Football Association Board (IFAB): the body responsible for devising the Laws of the Game.

The IFAB was formed in 1886 and is recognised for its role in the history of football. To pass any changes to the rules of football, at least six of the eight delegates on the IFAB board must agree on the deviations.

Each founding member has one delegate on the board, whereas FIFA has four. In effect, this means that FIFA has ultimate sanction over the any rule changes.

Relationship with FIFA

The FA is one of 209 member associations of FIFA. As in the case of every other member, the FA has one delegate on the FIFA Congress, which is the supreme body governing world football. Each football association has one vote, regardless of its size or stature.

The FA played a huge role in the development of world football. Not only was it the very first association of its kind, but it also had a large hand in shaping the modern game as we know it.