Buckingham Palace Garden To Host First Football Match As Part of FA Anniversary
London's Buckingham Palace lawn "will become the world’s most exclusive football pitch" when it stages a Southern Amateur League fixture between the world’s oldest Association Football club, Civil Service FC, and its local rivals Polytechnic FC, according to Gordon Rayner of the London TELEGRAPH. The match has been arranged by the Duke of Cambridge "in his capacity as president of the Football Association, as part of the celebrations of the FA’s 150th anniversary." The Duke "was given special permission by the Queen," who will still be at Balmoral when the match takes place, to mark out a 100m-by-60m pitch and put up goalposts for the match, which has been moved from Civil Service FC’s home ground at Riverside Drive, in Chiswick, west London. Civil Service FC 150th anniversary committee Chair Neil Ward said that the match "was such a tightly-guarded secret that the players were only due to be told about it" Monday night. Ward: "We haven’t even told the opposition where it’s being played apart from saying it’s going to be at an iconic venue because of the anniversary. A lot of people guessed it might be at Wembley, but no one has guessed the real venue" (TELEGRAPH, 9/3). In London, Amanda Williams reported Wembley groundsman Tony Stones "will work with the royal household gardeners to create a pitch in the 40 acre garden." Prince William "will host the event and also present medals to 150 grassroots volunteers in recognition of their dedication to the sport." Civil Service FC is the sole surviving club from the 11 clubs who founded The FA in the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street in London in 1863 and "later drafted the 13 original laws of association football." Polytechnic FC was formed in 1875 (DAILY MAIL, 9/3).