It’s one of the most legendary locations in sport, so Cambridge Rules 1848 is delighted that the first of five stones inscribed with the original rules of football that the project celebrates has been unveiled at The Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Young people from the Street Child United Brazil charity – which has its roots in Cambridge – unveiled the sculpture outside the Maracanã museum last week, before playing on the pitch which was the venue for the FIFA World Cup Final in 1950 and 2014.The stone, inscribed with the original Cambridge Rules in Portuguese, is part of the Cambridge Rules 1848 project commissioned by Cambridge City Council, in which a block of granite was split into nine pieces and etched with the original rules of football in many different languages. Four are now installed and enjoyed daily on Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, where the original rules were played to for the first time 170 years ago. After the installation in Rio, there will be further events in Shanghai, Mombasa, Cairo and Chennai.

“Children have the honour of delivering this sculpture, a symbol that represents football all over the world,” said Adam Reid, CEO of Street Child United Brazil, which serves young people from the community of Complexo da Penha, in the north of Rio. “It will proudly introduce you to the Maracanã and be witnessed by visitors from all over the world.

We are absolutely thrilled that the sculpture finds a home in one of the most iconic places in world football.”

The sculpture in the Maracanã will be part of the itinerary of the stadium tour, which attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year, and at the unveiling the British Consul in Rio de Janeiro, Simon Wood, recalled that Brazil and the United Kingdom have a long and lasting relationship through football.

“Charles Miller, the father of Brazilian football, had British parents and learned the game whilst studying in the UK, before bringing a ball and set of rules to Brazil. Sending one of the nine sculptures here is a demonstration of the importance the country has for the United Kingdom. I hope these ties between the two nations will continue and thrive.”

“That our sculpture should find a home in such an incredible location and be unveiled by children who are thriving through football is a complete honour,” added Cambridge Rules 1848 artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie. “When we began the Cambridge Rules 1848 project it was all about celebrating how a simple set of rules for a game played on a patch of ground in Cambridge became a worldwide phenomena, embraced by diverse cultures across the world and enriching lives and understanding.

“To mark that in a permanent way at a stadium so crucial to the history of the sport is a great thrill.”

All photography © WBR images/Gustavo Oliveira

Parker’s Piece: The Sculpture

Today’s the day! 170 years after a group of university students pinned a set of rules for football to the trees surrounding Parker’s Piece in Cambridge, this seismic moment will finally be celebrated with our sculpture, unveiled at the very place where most of the rules of the game we love today were first adhered to.

If you’re near Cambridge, please do join us to launch this important public artwork by Alan Ward and Neville Gabie. We’d love to see you.

Timetable of events:
12.00pm: Speeches and sculpture unveiling on Parker’s Piece
12.45pm: @CambridgeUtdWFC vs @CuafcWomen
14.00pm: @CambsFA Select XI vs @CUAFC Men

Carol Anne Wood, a native of Cambridge, who has been an active supporter and contributor to the website – see her homages to David Luiz and her beloved Chelsea – has written a special poem for us which has also been submitted to the site this morning. Click here to view it

If you can’t be with us, here is a link to the free commemorative newspaper as a download and a selection of images from the installation this week in the lovely Cambridge sunshine. Follow events on twitter from 12noon.


Cambridge Rules Unveiling 12 May 12 noon

We’re delighted to announce that our eagerly awaited sculptural piece marking the birthplace of football as we know it today will be unveiled at Parker’s Piece in Cambridge on Saturday 12th May at noon – and we’d love you to come and see it. There will also be an opportunity to watch two special games of football, pick up a commemorative newspaper and meet the artists Alan Ward and Neville Gabie.

The sculpture – which is inscribed with the original Cambridge Rules in many different languages – will be officially revealed at noon on the corner of Parker’s Piece by Parkside and Mill Road. It’s part of an exciting day of celebrations on Parker’s Piece which will also include two ‘town vs gown’ football matches in association with Cambridge United Football Club and Community Trust, featuring women’s teams from Cambridge United and the University of Cambridge and a men’s match between a Cambridgeshire FA Select XI and the University of Cambridge. 

Organised 11-a-side matches are very rare on Parker’s Piece so it will be fantastic to see games of football played on the very patch of ground where the sport’s rules were formalised.

There will also be a free commemorative newspaper to pick up. It will tell the story of the commission, the work of our global partners Street Child United and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Football Club, and also explore the journey of both the four stones to Cambridge and the five others which will travel to Brazil, Kenya, China, India and Egypt.

Meanwhile some large-scale photography documenting football from around the world will be installed on Parker’s Piece for one day only.

So please join us to celebrate the unveiling of Cambridge Rules 1848.

click here for a downloadable pdf of the invitiation