Cuju (Chinese Football Code) 770 BC – Present


Cuju is an Ancient Chinese code of Football, whose origins are unclear but maybe in Lanzi, the capital of Qi State during the Spring and Autumn Period 770 bc – 476 bc. After attending the Chian World Football Exhibition in 2004, President Sepp S. Blatter of FIFA, the world governing body of Soccer, declared that it was the origins of the present game of soccer.

It appears to have had religious symbolism, the football field represented the earth, and the football represented the celestial bodies. It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 players of Cuju in Linzi distict. During the Northern Song Dynasty 960-1126 football pitches were laid out and professional Cuju football teams played at the court of the emperor. During the earlier Han dynasty the sport had poetic writing about it and had military significance as well as recreational. ‘Ju’ means a rubber ball covered in leather or an animal bladder stuffed with feathers. Cuju means to ‘Kick a ball with the foot’.

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia, the number of players in team was not fixed, and the numbers varied from 2-10. Teams could only pass to teammates in their own half, and by the time the border was crossed had to kick towards the goal, which was two poles adorned with coloured ribbons. It involves an aspect of keepie-uppies, like in Marn Grook.


Cuju Video [References: 3]



[1] Oxford Reference (2021) Cuju [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 25 March 2021]

[2] Wojciech Liponski (2003) “Cuju” World Sports Encyclopaedia pg. 150.


[3] You Tube (2021) Aug 19, 2018 “Man finds joy playing cuju, the parent of modern soccer” [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 25 March 2021]


Thanks to Caoilfhionn Nic Fhearai

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 25 March 2021

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Resereved.

Published by Enda Mulcahy

I am currently Web Manager for Baseball Ireland. I have been involved in American Football Ireland since 1987 either as a fan (going to the first College Games in Ireland in the 1980s, the Shamrock Bowl or Dublin Tornadoes & Dublin Rebels matches), player (South West Jets Flag Football 1995), Line Judge (IAFL 1996-2003), Chain Crew Member (I was on the Sidelines for the NFL game in Dublin between the Pittsburgh Steelers & Chicago Bears in 1997), Team Manager (Dublin Bay Raptors, IFFL 2018-present), Statistician (I did the stats for Shamrock Bowl X and currently do the stats for the Raptors). I have also played Softball for Marlay Mustangs, represented my school (St. Colmcille's Knocklyon) in Basketball & Olympic Handball, played plenty of Street Soccer, played Badminton for over 30 years (Knocklyon Social Badminton Club), played Croquet in the Annual Trinity SWSS v Green Party Challenge, Ran the Belfield Mile (UCD), played Chess for Trinity in the annual Colours Match, and played a lot of Games and E-Sports (Subbuteo, Fantasy NFL & Madden NFL etc) and have tried most of the sports on this website at least twice. I have a BA in World Development from the Development Studies Centre @ The Holy Ghost College Kimmage and have completed a Professional Qualification in Webmaster level 1 in Web Design at the Irish Academy of Computer Training (The research Project) both in Dublin, Ireland I could not have done this on my own, however, and the help of friends, co-workers, teachers and family has been significant. Please see the Acknowldegemets section (below the Home Menu Button for a full list of those who have helped, guided or supported me.

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