The history of UK Sunday matches

UK Sunday football

In the 20th century, British football provided several innovations to the sport. For example, the "discovery" of yellow and red cards belongs to the English referee Ken Aston, while the grading system 3-1-0 was first applied in England. Another "taboo" was the football games could not be done on Sunday, and they had to wait a century or more to apply this to the Island!

The reason that UK football matches could not take place on Sunday, was the Law of Sunday Holidays (Sunday Observance Act) that was in force since 1780 and of course had a religious basis.

However, it seems really strange since in countries of the Catholic Church, such as Italy, Spain and the countries of Latin America, Sunday was established as a privileged day of football. The same in Greece, although for Orthodox Christians, Sunday is a special day, like the Catholics.

The Law of Sunday Holidays prohibited that any building, room or other place can open to the public amusement or public consultation at Sundays. If people were found attending, should pay a fine of 200 pounds (high enough for 1970)...

The teams, wanted to bypass this law, so they should think about something effective: Viewers were charged for the purchase of match programme and enter the stadium only with this charge. So, typically, without bying a ticket.

At Premier League, the first time a football match held on Sunday, was at 27 January 1974 between Stoke City and Chelsea (1-0).

Had to pass 9 years to redo a match on Sunday when on February 6 1983, Swansea beat Watford 3-1 and incidentally was the first time in Wales that a match was held on Sunday.

The reason, that matches started to play at Sundays, was not about religious. In late 1973, the global energy crisis had hit "red" because of the embargo declared by OPEC members in Western countries that were in favor of Israel in the Yom Kippur War...

The situation in England was aggravated by the miners strike in early 1974, causing the fuel to be a luxury.

In this situation, teams could not spend so much energy for lights in stadiums, so demanded the games to take place early at Sunday, as it was the day that was the most convenient.

Then came the reactions...

"To be playing at Sunday and make money from it is wrong. We will not disturb the peace and tranquility of the residents of Highbury such a day" said the general manager of Arsenal, Bob Wall.

The first video game was broadcast live at Sunday was that of Tottenham vs Nottingham Forest in the "White Hart Lane" on October 2, 1983.

Reaching the 90s, the transfer of Paul Gascoigne in Lazio, persuaded Channel 4 to show live every Sunday a match of Serie A and then came Rupert Murdoch.

The creation of the Premier League in 1992, with the support of BSkyB, (owner was the Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch) established one match every Sunday. All Britain was erected in front of screens at Sunday 16 August 1992 to watch Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool (1-0).

After this, Sundays and generally football would never be the same anymore, and every Sunday is a 'celebration' for UK football fans.

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