The match to be considered the first ever for American Football was played on 6 November 1869 between two college teams. They were Rutgers and Princeton and the match featured a round-shaped ball with each team consisting of 25 players. In 1873 the same two teams met to create a standard set of rules for all schools to follow. The teams were also reduced to 20 players with the standard rules remaining in that the ball could not be picked up or carried. Players could however, kick or bat the ball using their feet, head or hands. Essentially the game originally evolved from soccer and rugby. After the conference in 1873, Harvard continued with their favoured version of the game that resembled rugby more. This involved a team of 11 players running with the ball, forward passing and using an oblong ball instead.
This version of the game was eventually introduced to Princeton and the Intercollegiate Football Association was formed. Rugby Union rules were used, but the scoring system was different. In the following years several rule changes were brought in to make the game more spectator friendly and safer. In the year of 1905 there were nineteen fatalities prompting President Theodore Roosevelt calling for drastic rule changes or for the game to be abolished. It prompted the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, which later became the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). William Heffelfinger is widely regarded as the first player to have been paid to play in a match, heralding the professional era. He was paid $500 in 1892. Since then, American Football as a professional sport has become a big industry especially in the USA.
The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) was formed in 1978 and is the international governing body with the responsibility for global development, management of competitions and establishment of regulations. Outside of the USA, the first American Football federation was formed in Canada in 1896, followed by Japan in 1936. The European federation was formed in 1976. Currently IFAF has 46 nations either as emerging, associate members, allied members or full members. IFAF is a non-profit organisation with the main purpose to promote and develop American Football in all amateur formats, whether contact or non-contact, through competitions and educational resources from youth levels through to senior levels.