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1873 — 2023

A history of the
Scottish FA

The formation of the Scottish Football Association.

In the months following the first international football game between Scotland and England on St Andrew’s Day 1872, Queen’s Park led the way towards formalising the structure of football competition in Scotland.

The first meeting and a historic resolution

After an advertisement was placed in a newspaper in 1873, seven clubs - Queen’s Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, Eastern and Granville – met in Dewar’s Hotel in Glasgow on 13 March 1873. Kilmarnock FC sent a letter of support. On that day, the Scottish Football Association was formed, making it the second oldest association in world football. The Football Association in England had formed in 1863. 

The attendees resolved that ‘the clubs here represented form themselves into an Association for the promotion of football according to the rules of The Football Association and that the clubs connected with this Association subscribe for a challenge cup to be played for annually, the Committee to propose the laws of the competition’. With this, the Scottish Cup was born.

Archibald Campbell (Clydesdale) was elected president and Archibald Rae (Queen's Park) became secretary of the SFA. 

Archibald Campbell was the founder of Clydesdale Cricket Club. The club was founded in 1848 and after their players started playing football in the winter months, the Clydesdale Football Club was born in 1872. Clydesdale were among a number of founding members of the Scottish FA who could trace their roots back to cricket clubs. Clydesdale made it to the first Scottish Cup Final, losing 2-0 to Queen’s Park.

Rapid growth of the game

Annual international matches and the Scottish Cup competition became key catalysts for the growth of football in Scotland. During this period clubs were founded across the country. In 1886 the Scottish FA, along with the Football Association, Football Association of Wales and Irish Football Association set up IFAB (the International Football Association Board). To this day, IFAB acts as the guardian of the Laws of the Game.

Domestic governance and International membership

As the governing body for football in Scotland, the Scottish FA has overseen important developments within the game. Domestically, the Scottish FA is responsible for the governance of football in Scotland, including overseeing refereeing. In addition to being a founder member of IFAB, the Scottish FA is a member association of FIFA and UEFA.

Recognition of women’s football

In 1974 the Scottish FA officially recognised women’s football, then in 1998 affiliated with the Scottish Women’s Football Association. Since 1998 the Scottish FA have been responsible for the Scotland Women’s National Team, with the side qualifying for two major tournaments in recent years.