Documented evidence of ball games being played in London dates back to the 12th century, with the first mention of 'footballs' coming later in 1314 when the lord mayor of London, Nicholas de Farndone, issued a decree outlawing their use on behalf of King Edward II.
The game has come a long way since, of course, and the version we know today first emerged when a set of rules was drawn up by the newly established Football Association at London's Freemason's Tavern on 26 October 1863.
The end of the 19th century was boom time for the sport as clubs sides sprang up across the capital, with the oldest still in existence generally accepted to be Fulham FC, formed in 1879. The final of the world's oldest football competition, the FA Cup, has usually been held in London too, kicking off with the 1872 showpiece won by London outfit Wanderers FC at the Kennington Oval. Wembley then took over the hosting of the event from 1923 to 2000, before the rebuilt venue resumed that duty in 2007.
Long known as the 'Home of Football', Wembley has served as a focal point for the game in London, staging the climax of the football tournament at the 1948 Olympics and the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, not to mention five European Champion Clubs' Cup and two UEFA Cup Winners' Cup showpieces. The English capital nonetheless remains a vibrant hotbed of club football, with no fewer than five Premier League teams in 2010/11 and 13 altogether in the top four divisions.
The city's sides cannot match the trophy hauls of north-west giants Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC – particularly in Europe, where London still awaits its first continental champions – but the likes of Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and West Ham United FC can look back upon many glorious achievements down the years. Fittingly, the first three of those clubs started off down the road to Wembley this season as London provided three UEFA Champions League group stage contenders for the first time.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.