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Medieval football refers to a set of ball games played in Europe from roughly the ninth through the seventeenth centuries.
- For as concerning football playing, I protest unto you it may rather be called a freendly kinde of fight, then a play or recreation; A bloody and murthering practise, then a felowly sporte or pastime. For dooth not every one lye in waight for his adversarie, seeking to overthrowe him & to picke him on his nose, though it be uppon hard stones? In ditch or dale, in valley or hil, or what place soever it be, hee careth not, so he have him down. And he that can serve the most of this fashion, he is counted the only felow, and who but he? So that by this meanes, sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometime their legs, sometime their armes; sometime one part thurst out of joynt, sometime an other; sometime the noses gush out with blood, sometime their eies start out; and sometimes hurt in one place, sometimes in another. But whosoever escapeth away the best, goeth not scotfree, but is either sore wounded, craised, and bruseed, so as he dyeth of it, or els scapeth very hardly. And no mervaile, for they have the sleights to meet one betwixt two, to dashe him against the hart with their elbowes, to hit him under the short ribbes with their griped fists, and with their knees to catch him upon the hip, and to pick him on his nec, with a hundered such murdering devices: and hereof groweth envie, malice, rancour, cholor, hatred, displeasure, enmitie, and what not els: and sometimes fighting, brawling, contention, quarrel picking, murther, homicide, and great effusion of blood, as experience dayly teacheth.