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The Internet Football Association Are Internet Football's Governing Body

Internet Football: A Brief History

Internet Football is often confused with a game played on-line by earnest young chaps in Regatta rainwear and eyes reddened by two much gazing at their computer monitor. In fact it's real football played by real people with real balls on real pitches. The Internet bit comes about because the players are football fans that have met each other through the numerous football clubs related e-mail discussion lists that exist worldwide.

Most football e-mail lists have a mixture of fans in far flung places who need to keep up to date with the activities of their chosen heroes, whilst others are locally based fans who attend matches, post reports and generally pass on their words of wisdom gleaned from the terraces. Add to this the more organised lists who have regular meets, members responsible for posting press reports and sometimes even formal contact with their club's management and e-mail lists can become attractive pastimes for the committed football fan. A conservative estimate reckons on there being 250,000 "listers" in the UK.

So how did this mob shuffle out from behind their keyboards and start playing real football? Well the first recorded match was between The Internet Hotspurs (Tottenham Hotspurs fans) and the Leeds Lards (Leeds United). This was in the days of steam driven computers and modems that worked by clockwork. As the use of e-mail lists grew quietly in the background, Graham Kelly (remember him) was helping organising something called "Euro 96". This was some kind of football tournament taking place in Britain. A man called The Voice of Football was curious to see that the main concern of the organisers was the behaviour of English Football Fans. Being a Leeds United fan he knew all about the bearing of false witness so he took it upon himself to do something about it.

Whilst various European teams were playing in the heat of summer 1996, Voicey organised a one-day tournament in Nottingham for 16 e-mail discussion lists. An event remarkable for its cosmopolitan nature, a team from AEK Athens, women playing and the winners being Middlesbrough's Cellnetters. (Indeed it was the first time Boro had managed to get a lump of silverware in donkeys). Everyone went home very sunburnt. Some folks also went home bald, as there had been a sponsored head-shave for Children In Need! After that it was all plain sailing, Literally at Boro the next year when Bradford City's Internet Bantams won the 1997 competition on a weekend when it never stopped raining! Wilf Mannion presented the medals and the trophy and the video got an X rating. Reading followed with the 1998 event marked by the first ever Scotland vs England International and a tournament win for Accrington Stanley Bowles (Queens Park Rangers). 1999 saw Leicester as the venue - Cybury Gooners (Arsenal) were overall winners.

For the year 2000 the event was based in Wild West Yorkshire at the University of Leeds' Bodington Hall site. Sports Interactive who are the team behind the highly successful football management simulation "Championship Manager 2000" sponsored the main tournament. The event was over the weekend of 22/23 July and attracted 47 teams and over 1000 players. Middlesbrough's Cellnetters were overall winners and Arsenal won the Plate competition. The event is repeated in leeds over the weekend of July 14/15 2001 and Sports Interactive continue their sponsorship.

There is also a very healthy league set up so when listers visit their counterparts during the season they can have a game and record the result towards the IFA League (see and follow the links). 2000/2001 also sees the second IFA Knockout Cup with entries from teams both North and South of the Border. The cup and the league are sponsored by TFG sports manufacturers of football strips and park gear. The IFA has its own web site and an e-mail list (naturally) both of which are sponsored by PSInet and Grok Developments two leaders in the internet field worldwide.

TFG IFA League

Click Here For The Lastest IFA League Table


Click Here For The Latest Information On The TFG IFA Cup


Click Here For Information On WorldNET 2001

It was intended that the 2002 event would take place in Edinburgh at Herriott Watt's Riccarton site. The facility was being transformed into the new academy for Hearts so we went back to Leeds again. After the Leeds 2001 event, I met with the Edinburgh administrator who (very nicely) explained to me that the refurb work on the pitches etc.. at HW was only just starting and she couldn't guarantee a booking for me for July of 2002. At this point we agreed that we would keep in touch and talk again re 2003.

I then checked out several other possible Scottish venues but to no avail, Stirling looked good but only had one footy pitch, other places couldn't help with the accommodation because of commitments to things like Edinburgh Festival. I did speak then with several other folk who have mentioned possible sites elsewhere in the UK - Mel put me in touch with a very good site in Swindon - again booked up for July 2002. (There are options for
2003 which depend on whether or not RC Lens can come up with a proposal to host the competition in France or not at their new academy.) Still with me?

At this point I took on board the large number of comments I had had about Leeds being a good venue for all sorts of reasons. I checked with the University and they offered me the same weekend in July (it fits in with something called Medieval Week). Sports Interactive are happy about this
and so are Roger and I (in spite of it meaning that Roger doesn't get to be that far away from the lovely Mrs Goodair for the weekend).

So that's it. We will be holding WorldNET 2002 at Bodington Hall Leeds on the weekend of July 13th/14th 2002.

Now down to the nitty gritty.

We have taken on board several comments from participants about this years tournament and these changes will be implemented:

1. No team will be knocked out on the first day (this was a big mistake on our parts as it totally defeated the point of the plate competition for the likes of Leicester et al). To achieve this we will be limiting the entries
to 48 teams. Anyone coming forward after that date will be put on a waiting list in case of either drop outs or us finding enough teams waiting to create the correct numbers for the second day.

2. We have discussed the catering arrangements with the University and we will continue to improve in this area.

3. We are considering the referee situation as we are now in contact with other groups of officials - especially from the Yorkshire area and we know that Chris from London has been training with two new lads. We will continue to work with the Boro refs, we will seriously look at ways of
increasing the numbers of refs and we hope to reaquaint ourselves with Sid and his two pals from the West Midlands.

4. All teams who were represented this year may enter one team for 2002 (depending on the number of entries at the closing date we may take a call for second teams but this is unlikely).

5. Entries close on December 1st 2001, which is earlier than previous years but which will enable us to ensure that the draw and format are dealt with earlier.

6. The entry fee for 2002 will be #175. For a full squad of 22 that works out at about #8 a head which is bloody cheap for a full weekend's fun and games on the pitch. We will aim to keep the accommodation costs at Bodington Hall the same as this year.

7. For 2002 we will be training our own first aiders for an appropriate recognised first aid qualification to take account of the increased number of minor injuries experienced this year. MJ Morgan from the Exeter list has
agreed to be involved with this as have all the existing co-ordinators. Any one else who is interested in joining this happy little band should contact myself off-list on .

8. The spare pitches on the Sunday will be bookable for friendlies from Sunday morning and we will seriously consider providing a pool of officials
for this.

9. We will again have a draw on the Saturday night for day 2 as this proved one of the most popular items over the weekend.

Entry fees in the form of a cheques for #150 made payable to the IFA should be sent to:

By Invergordon
IV18 0NA

Full details of the competition will appear on the website shortly -


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"Internet football is not just about winning. It's about taking part and
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Lawrence and George asked to be considered for the 2002 WorldNET tournament.

So far Intermalamb and Real maroon are No1 and No2 in the reserve list for
places after the other teams have been given a chance to enter

Any places not filled after 1st December 2001 will be allocated to the
reserve list on a first come first served basis

below is a list of the teams eligible according to the Book of Betty!

1. Brentford
2. Southampton
3. WBA
4. Huddersfield
5. Ayr
6. Norwich
7. Crewe
8. Leeds
9. AEK Athens
10. Spurs
11. Gillingham
12. Lincoln
13. Man City
14. Dumbarton
15. Charlton
16. Pompey
17. Derby
18. Boro
19. Rangers
20. QPR
21. Swindon
22. Brum
23. Stockport
24. RC Lens
25. Arsenal
26. Wolves
27. Doncaster
28. West Ham
29. Exeter
30. Coventry
31. Man Utd
32. Hull
33. Palace
34. Ipswich
35. Leicester
36. Bradford
37. Hibs
38. Watford
39. Reading
40. Forest
41. Sheff Wed
42. Dunfermline
43. Luton
44. Colchester
45. Villa
46. Everton
47. Celtic
48. SI
Connect your entire network to the Internet using a single dialup
account of any kind (modem,ISDN,ADSL,cable modem, etc) with
NetProxy. Fully functional FREE trial version available now from:

"Internet football is not just about winning. It's about taking part and
building bridges between rival sets of supporters."