Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Many of the graves are completely hidden by undergrowth, ivy snaking its way around the crumbling headstones. An abandoned cemetery in south west London is an unlikely location for a gathering of football insiders early on a cold December morning. They’ve gathered to pay tribute to the man they call the founding father of modern football.
One hundred and fifty years ago Ebenezer Morley and a group of football enthusiasts created the Football Association, the body that would oversee the game in England until this day and would set a precedent for the global professional sport. After a series of rowdy meetings, Morley led his first FA committee to agree on the thirteen “Laws of the Game”: common rules for all teams to abide by.
These laws included many of the rules we recognise today: the definition of a goal, outlawing handball and banning tripping. But others give an idea of the chaos of nineteenth century football: “No player shall wear projecting nails … on the soles or heels of his boots”.
The first match under these new rules was played in London on December 19th 1863 between Morley’s Barnes team and neighbouring Richmond. It was an unspectacular event that ended in a goalless draw, but it set the way for the rise of the game that is now the most played and watched in the world. The original laws still form the basis for football around the globe. The parks, streets and fields where, on FIFA’s last estimate, 265 million people around the world regularly play.
Becky went to find out more about Ebenezer Morley – the man who revolutionized the game of football – and to see the very book in which he first penned the rules of the “beautiful game”.
During the war of the early 1990s Kemal Pervanic - like thousands of other Bosnian Muslims - was held in a Serb prison camp. He says he can still remember the screams of the people who were beaten in front of him, by Serb guards who had once been friends and neighbours. Enduring hunger and violence, he and his immediate family miraculously survived. But Kemal’s two cousins - Sejad and Suad - were killed during the inter-ethnic hostilities. To make their tragic loss even worse, Kemal’s family had to wait over a decade to find out what had happened to the young men.
Eventually the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) helped identify the bodies of Semal and Suad, as well as thousands of other Bosnians whose remains were found in mass graves across the country. Kemal says that without the work of the ICMP, families like his would never be able to understand what happened to their loved ones or be able to lay them to rest.
The ICMP was established in 1996 to find and identify people who have disappeared as a result of armed conflict and human rights violations. Now its remit extends to cover people missing from natural disasters, terrorism, organised crime and migration. The ICMP today is working to help identify victims of the Nairobi mall attack in September and the asylum-seekers who drowned off the coast of Lampedusa in October.
Becky talks to Kemal Pervanic who experienced the brutality of what happened first hand when he was detained in a camp and also reports on the work of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP).