Meeting of the Football Association (August 31, 1914)

August 31, 1914
The Football Association to confer with military authorities.
At their meeting held yesterday at the offices of the Association, 42, Russell Square, London, the Consultative Committee had under consideration the question of playing football during the war. On the motion of Mr. John Charles Clegg, seconded by Mr. Charles Crump, the following resolution was passed: –

“The Football Association earnestly appeals to the patriotism of all who are interested in the game to help in all possible ways in the support of the nation in the present serious crisis, and particularly to those who are able to render personal service in the Army and Navy, which are so gallantly upholding our national honour. To those who are unable to render personal service the Association would appeal for their generous support of the fund for the relief and assistance of the dependents of those who are engaged in serving their country.”

It was decided to contribute £1,000 to the Prince of Wales’s War Fund. The Association will be prepared to assist the authorities in any direction which they may desire. It was also resolved to make a contribution of £250 to the Belgian Relief Fund.

The chairman and the crisis
In proposing the resolution the Chairman said:
“The support which the Football Association in the past has given to the relief of suffering gives a good guarantee that it will not now fail in its duty. The present crisis calls for sacrifice.

“I believe our players and spectators are as ready to do their duty as any other section of the community. How this can best be attained requires our careful consideration. It has been suggested  that all games should be stopped, having regard to the great anxieties which all must feel during the continuation of the war.

“I think total suspension would be mischievous rather than do good. Undoubtedly the first requirement is men. I would strongly appeal to every man who is capable of rendering personal service to do so at once. I know many have already done so. I hope their example will be followed, and that the clubs will give all possible assistance by releasing their men during the war.

“It may be desirable to correct a common error. There are about a million players, of whom not more than 7,000 are professionals, and of this latter number it is estimated that only about 2,500 are exclusively engaged for football. These figures shows that the Football Association must depend upon the patriotism of the players for the response to any appeal which may be made.

“Those who are unable to respond to the call for personal service should recognise the greater necessity for assistance in financial and other direction, and I have no doubt they will do so.

“If we could realise the position of the brave Belgian people to-day, and that in case of defeat we might have to suffer in a like manner, we should more fully appreciate present necessities.

“Let us pray that our country may soon be delivered from threatened perils, and to this end let each of us show the sincerity of our prayers by our actions.”

Appeal to clubs.
A discussion took place as to the position of players registered by clubs, and the following resolution was agreed to: –
“That clubs having professional players are urged to give every facility for their temporary release.”

It was also decided that Messrs. John Charles Clegg, Charles Crump, Porter, John McKenna, and Frederick Wall be appointed to confer with the War Office and other authorities as to the best means of carrying the foregoing resolutions into effect. The War Office are known to be opposed to the wholesome closing down of football.

The Football Association are in direct communication with the War Office with a view to framing a scheme to induce all who are interested – both players and spectators – in the sport to come forward at once and join the service.
(Birmingham Daily Post: September 1, 1914)

Football and war

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