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Stats (2001/2002):
IFA League Table
Goal scorers
IFA Cup 2001/2002

Stats (2000/2001):
IFA League Table

Goal scorers
IFA Cup 2000/2001

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WorldNet 2002
WorldNet 2001
WorldNet 2000

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The IFA (Internet Football Association)  

Internet Football: A Brief History

Internet Football is often confused with a game played on-line by earnest young chaps in Regatta rainwear and eyes reddened by two much gazing at their computer monitor. In fact it's real football played by real people with real balls on real pitches. The Internet bit comes about because the players are football fans that have met each other through the numerous football clubs related e-mail discussion lists that exist worldwide.

Most football e-mail lists have a mixture of fans in far flung places who need to keep up to date with the activities of their chosen heroes, whilst others are locally based fans who attend matches, post reports and generally pass on their words of wisdom gleaned from the terraces. Add to this the more organised lists who have regular meets, members responsible for posting press reports and sometimes even formal contact with their club's management and e-mail lists can become attractive pastimes for the committed football fan. A conservative estimate reckons on there being 250,000 "listers" in the UK.

So how did this mob shuffle out from behind their keyboards and start playing real football? Well the first recorded match was between The Internet Hotspurs (Tottenham Hotspurs fans) and the Leeds Lards (Leeds United). This was in the days of steam driven computers and modems that worked by clockwork. As the use of e-mail lists grew quietly in the background, Graham Kelly (remember him) was helping organising something called "Euro 96". This was some kind of football tournament taking place in Britain. A man called The Voice of Football was curious to see that the main concern of the organisers was the behaviour of English Football Fans. Being a Leeds United fan he knew all about the bearing of false witness so he took it upon himself to do something about it.

Whilst various European teams were playing in the heat of summer 1996, Voicey organised a one-day tournament in Nottingham for 16 e-mail discussion lists. An event remarkable for its cosmopolitan nature, a team from AEK Athens, women playing and the winners being Middlesbrough's Cellnetters. (Indeed it was the first time Boro had managed to get a lump of silverware in donkeys). Everyone went home very sunburnt. Some folks also went home bald, as there had been a sponsored head-shave for Children In Need! After that it was all plain sailing, Literally at Boro the next year when Bradford City's Internet Bantams won the 1997 competition on a weekend when it never stopped raining! Wilf Mannion presented the medals and the trophy and the video got an X rating. Reading followed with the 1998 event marked by the first ever Scotland vs England International and a tournament win for Accrington Stanley Bowles (Queens Park Rangers). 1999 saw Leicester as the venue - Cybury Gooners (Arsenal) were overall winners.

For the year 2000 the event was based in Wild West Yorkshire at the University of Leeds' Bodington Hall site. Sports Interactive who are the team behind the highly successful football management simulation "Championship Manager 2000" sponsored the main tournament. The event was over the weekend of 22/23 July and attracted 47 teams and over 1000 players. Middlesbrough's Cellnetters were overall winners and Arsenal won the Plate competition. The event is repeated in leeds over the weekend of July 14/15 2001 and Sports Interactive continue their sponsorship.

There is also a very healthy league set up so when listers visit their counterparts during the season they can have a game and record the result towards the IFA League (see http://www.internetfootball.org and follow the links). 2000/2001 also sees the second IFA Knockout Cup with entries from teams both North and South of the Border. The cup and the league are sponsored by TFG sports manufacturers of football strips and park gear. The IFA has its own web site and an e-mail list (naturally) both of which are sponsored by PSInet and Grok Developments two leaders in the internet field worldwide.


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� Hey Jude - 2001