Founding fathers

The Football Association has kicked-off a nationwide search to find living descendants of the founding fathers of football.

And it is calling upon the public to come forward with information on the eight men who established the world's most popular sport 150 years ago.

Hailing from across the country, surprisingly little is known about these trail-blazers who gathered together on 26th October 1863 in the Freemasons' Tavern, London, to draft the 13 original laws of association football.

From humble beginnings, the FA - now in its 150th anniversary year - helps to support seven million people playing the game at grassroots level in this country, right the way through to the elite level of 24 England teams.

The Founding Fathers of football are:

1. Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)
2. Arthur Pember (1835-1886)
3. Charles William Alcock (1842-1907)
4. Francis Maule Campbell (1843-1920)
5. John Forster Alcock (1841-1910)
6. Herbert Thomas Steward (1839-1915)
7. George Twizell Wawn (1840-1914)
8. James Turner

Living descendants who can be identified and located will be sent an invitation to a special ceremony at Wembley Stadium in October, where their ancestors will be honoured.

Jane Clayton, cultural historian from the International Football Institute, University of Central Lancashire, who is leading the search said:  "This is an important historical search.

"We know so much about people who were pioneers in their chosen fields but surprisingly little is known about the individuals responsible for gifting us the most popular sport in the world.

"We have initiated the historical search and, whilst information is limited, we have a good base upon which to work. We are confident that by October, through genealogical research and the public's help, we can trace some of the living descendants of the founding fathers of football."

England manager Roy Hodgson added: "We should all recognise not only the sporting contribution that these men have made but the impact that football has had in this country and around the world.

"Football is part of the fabric of our society and without the vision of these eight men 150 years ago, it may not have come to exist. It is only right that we honour the founding fathers of this nation's favourite game."

Supporting the search and appealing for the public's help are current England players led by captain Steven Gerrard. Click here for a special video.

To find out more about the search for living descendants of the founding fathers, please visit www.thefa.com/foundingfathers and if you have any information that can assist, please email foundingfathers@thefa.com.