England's Football Association (FA) has unveiled a new crest and a special calendar of events ahead of its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2013, with a UEFA Congress and the UEFA Champions League final as focal points of the activities.
May will see the UEFA events at the heart of the festivities. The UEFA Women's Champions League final will be held on Thursday 23 May 2013 at a London venue to be confirmed. On 24 May, the XXXVI Ordinary UEFA Congress, the annual gathering of UEFA's national associations to hear and vote on European football issues and proposals, is scheduled to take place in London, and the UEFA Champions League final takes place at Wembley Stadium on 25 May.
"The year ahead will not just be about the FA's anniversary, but will be a chance for all of football in this country to come together and celebrate our national game," said FA vice-chairman David Gill. "From the clubs and leagues to the players and the fans, and all who give their time to making football the global phenomenon it is, FA150 is a tremendous opportunity for us all to be united.
"It is an honour that UEFA has chosen to mark our special year by bringing the UEFA Congress and UEFA Champions League final back to London," he added. "It will be a wonderful chance to share the year with our fellow member associations and the wider football family."
The FA will use next year to bring its unique history to life, telling the story of the founding fathers who paved the way in the organisation's formative years. The spotlight will also turn on those who have helped across the decades to make football England's favourite game. Looking forward, the aim will be to establish positive lasting legacies as well as educating, engaging and exciting the nation with a fantastic fixture list of matches and events.
The calendar includes major England national team matches against Brazil, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as a tour of Brazil by England in the summer; the FA England awards at St George's Park on Sunday 3 February; celebrations heralding 20 years of women's football, which will also figure at the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final round in July; and a national football day on Saturday 10 August.
The Football Association was founded on 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern, near Holborn in London. On Saturday 26 October 2013, the FA and wider football family will assemble at the same location – now The Grand Connaught Rooms – to signal 150 years to the day since that first meeting was held.
"It is incredible to think how the game has developed from that very first meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern," said FA chairman David Bernstein. "Those founding fathers had real foresight to bring order and organisation to the game. Still, despite their sporting values and vision, no one could have foreseen what football would come to mean for the nation.
"It truly is the national game and one in which we should all take tremendous pride. There can scarcely be a family in England that is not touched by football in some way and we at the FA take our responsibility to support the game very seriously."
"The Football Association holds a very important place in history, the oldest governing body in football," added England manager Roy Hodgson. "It is only right that we celebrate it reaching a significant landmark."
The FA's anniversary crest retains the traditional three lions, yet has been switched to gold to underline the significance of the 150th celebrations, with a new 150-specific mark added underneath.
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