The FA celebrated its landmark 150th anniversary year across 2013.
The main event of a packed calendar was a Gala Dinner hosted by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, The FA President, in central London on Saturday 26 October 2013.
It was held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, the very site where exactly a century and a half earlier The FA was founded at a meeting which paved the way for the global game we all know and love today.
Pride of place went to the original FA Minute Book from 1863 featuring the first laws of the game as drafted by FA founder Ebenezer Morley and his contemporaries. Leading FA figures and famous England names from past and present were in attendance, along with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini.
The FA used the event - and the whole FA150 year - to underline its not-for-profit commitment to supporting football since 1863.
With £100m re-invested into the game annually; seven million diverse players, 400,000 volunteers, 300,000 coaches and 27,000 referees give their time every week for the nation’s favourite game. It is the unsung grassroots heroes who took centre stage for The FA in 2013.
HRH the Duke of Cambridge said: “I am a football fan. I have loved the game from a very young age - as a player with my friends, and as a supporter of club and country.
“I consider it a huge honour to lead The FA - it is an organisation which reaches every community, bringing the simplest enjoyment to people of all ages and all abilities.
“Over 150 years, football has become part of the very fabric of our society and the year allowed us to celebrate every aspect of this great game.
“The FA’s work is far reaching. It is a diverse not-for-profit organisation, which invests over £100m into the game every year delivering facilities for grassroots football, coaching programmes for boys and girls, and development programmes for those with disabilities.
“It is a regulator of the game at all levels, ensuring that football is played in a safe, fun and welcoming environment for everyone – whatever their background.
“Our flagship facilities at St. George’s Park and Wembley Stadium are the inspirational homes of 24 England teams and world leading coach education facilities.”
A key part of the year was to remember the achievement of Morley, the man who founded The FA by gathering together a group of like-minded men to frame an agreed set of laws for football back in October 1863.
As part of this, The FA has put a plaque commemorating his achievement at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London, site of the old Freemasons’ Tavern where the very first meeting was held, as well as a lasting permanent tribute to the Founding Fathers at Wembley.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke rounded out the year with a special service at Morley’s graveside at Barnes Common, site of the first match played to FA rules. On 19 December 1863, Barnes and Richmond played out a goalless draw at Limes Field.
On 19 December 2013, Dyke said: “Today is a fitting final act of The FA’s 150th anniversary and a magnificent example of how far the game has come.
"Throughout the year we have celebrated The Football Association’s rich heritage and looked to the future through the wonderful array of grassroots initiatives The FA and its County FAs help to run week in, week out.
“All year we have been celebrating 150 years of The FA, and of football, but none of this would have been possible without Morley. We all owe him a great debt.
"What he did to set football on its incredible journey to become the only true global game was a truly remarkable achievement. Today, as we draw the 150th anniversary celebrations to a close it is only right we pay tribute to him.”
To read all about what The FA did during its 150th anniversary year, click here..
Supporting football since 1863
The FA is the not-for-profit, governing body of football in England. It grows participation, promotes diversity and regulates the sport for everyone to enjoy.
Seven million players of all ages, 400,000 volunteers, 300,000 coaches and 27,000 qualified referees help The FA keep the grassroots game going.
The FA runs 24 England teams, across men’s, women’s, youth and disability football, utilising the world-class facilities of Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park.