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FA to celebrate in style

25 Oct 2013 16:46:55

FA to celebrate in style

Football Association president the Duke of Cambridge will be the guest of honour on Saturday at a gala dinner to round off the organisation's 150th anniversary celebrations.

The dinner will be held in the Grand Connaught Rooms at Holborn, a site of particular significance for the FA given it was the place where it was founded a century and a half ago.

A glittering list of football's biggest names will be present, including England manager Roy Hodgson, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, UEFA counterpart Michel Platini and a trio of England's World Cup winners in George Cohen, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst.

However, pride of place will go to the original FA Minute Book from 1863.

Valued at £2.5million and described as one of the 12 books that changed the world by Lord Melvyn Bragg, who is to present a video about it, the book contains the 13 original handwritten laws of football penned by the FA's first secretary Ebenezer Cobb Morley.

Although England still have a high-profile friendly against old foes Germany to play at Wembley on November 19, and the draw for the FA Cup first round will take place on Sunday at the same historic venue, Saturday's dinner effectively marks the culmination of a long list of activities celebrating the FA's birth.

The day will be marked by teams at every level wearing special FA150 T-shirts during their pre-match warm-ups.

Prince William will make the opening address, whilst there will also be speeches from Blatter and FA chairman Greg Dyke.

Birthday celebrations began earlier this week with a ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Monday to mark the successful search for living descendants of the eight Founding Fathers of Football.

Relatives travelled from as far afield as New Zealand and the United States to take part in a ceremony honouring their ancestors.

On Friday, Dyke and FA general secretary Alex Horne took part in a ceremony to unveil a plaque at the Grand Connaught Rooms, meaning there is finally a permanent record of football's birthplace.


PA

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