Thursday, October 24, 2013
24 October 1897 - Football Gets Going In Russia
The sport arrived in Russia about thirty years earlier, but was initially limited to port contests between teams composed of expatriates, sailors and merchants from Britain and Germany. By the 1890s, Russian clubs began to form, including a local Saint Petersburg team called the Saint Petersburg Sports Lovers Society, or "Petrograd" for short. They were the ones who, in October 1897, met a predominantly English team named the Vasilievsky Island Football Society (also known as "Ostrov," which is Russian for "island").
The game was played at the First Military Academy parade ground on St. Petersburg's Vasilievsky Island, where Ostrov won 6-0.
The Russian Football Union—the country's governing body—was later founded in 1912, but considers that match from 1897 to be the first official match in the country and the starting point of Russian football.
[N.B. The game was played on 10 October according to the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time, but that date corresponds to 24 October in the current Gregorian calendar.]