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Oldest football stadiums: Which was the first football stadium ever built?
The world's biggest leagues are played in some of the most technologically advanced stadiums. Some teams have stuck to their original stadiums, some of which were first constructed more than a century ago. Here is the list of the top 10 oldest football stadiums ever built.
Many old stadiums across the world host high-level matches. All of them were constructed in a different era, meaning that somewhere along the line, they had to be reconstructed or renovated to modern standards. These are some of the oldest football stadiums in the world.
The oldest football ground in the world
Football is widely considered a national sport in England and gained popularity in the 19th century. Here is the oldest known soccer ground in the world:
Sandygate, Sheffield, England (1804)
Constructed in 1804, Sandygate is officially recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest football ground. It has been home to Hallam FC since 1860. It is widely believed to be the site of the world's first match between two separate clubs when Hallam FC and Sheffield United met on Boxing day in 1862. It is also used for cricket matches.
The oldest football stadium in the world
Football and cricket pitches' dimensions required for both sports are not too far apart. Here is the oldest stadium for both sports in the world:
The Oval, London, England (1845)
The Oval, also known as Kensington Oval, is the oldest football stadium in the world. It is the home of Surrey County Cricket Club, but it has also been used for soccer matches, including the first-ever international match between Scotland and England in 1872. It was also the site of the first-ever FA cup final, played in 1872.
The first football stadium in the world
Towards the end of the 19th century, teams started building grounds specifically for soccer. Here is the oldest such example:
Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England' (1855)
It is the oldest purpose-built soccer stadium still in use and was built in 1855. It has a seating capacity of 32,702 and has undergone renovations and expansions. It is home to English 2nd-tier side Sheffield United. Bramall lane is also used for concerts, conferences, and soccer matches. The club also plans to expand its capacity and other facilities.
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The oldest football stadium in America
Just like in Britain, early American pitches were built with multiple sports in mind. This is the earliest example:
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois (1924)
Soldier Field was built initially to memorialise American soldiers who fought in World War I. It hosts both football and American football matches. It is home to the NFL franchise Chicago Bears and the MLS team Chicago Fire. It has also hosted international tournaments such as the 1994 world cup and the 1999 women's world cup. Soldier Field is set to be given an ultra-modern renovation ahead of its 100th anniversary in 2024.
The oldest football stadium in Africa
Football became popular in Africa in the early 20th century due to colonial influences. Here is the oldest football ground in Africa:
Alexandria stadium, Egypt,(1929)
King Fouad I Stadium, also known as "The Stadium of 25 January", is a multi-purpose facility in Alexandria, Egypt. It was opened in 1929 by King Fouad I of Egypt and Sudan. It is the oldest in Africa and has a capacity of 25,000 seats. It was primarily used for soccer matches and was the home ground of Al-Ittihad Alexandria Club. It was closed in 2016 for renovations before reopening for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. It is well known for its beautiful Islamic-themed architecture.
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The oldest football stadium in South America
Like in Africa, European settlers introduced the game of soccer to South America. Here is the oldest pitch on the continent:
The Estadio Gran Parque Central (1889)
The oldest football stadium in South America is the Estadio Gran Parque Central in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was opened on July 19, 1889, and has a seating capacity of almost 30,000. It is the home of Club Nacional de Football and Club Peñarol, two of Uruguay's most successful and famous clubs. It has undergone several renovations and upgrades over the years but still retains much of its original architecture and character.
The oldest football stadium in Asia
Asia is the earth's largest continent. Many believe football originated here with the Chinese in the 7th century AD. Here is the oldest known stadium in the region:
Mohan Bagan Ground, Kolkata, India (1911)
Mohan Bagan Athletic Club Ground, also known as the Mohun Bagan Ground, is located in Kolkata, India. It is the home of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, one of India's oldest and most successful clubs, founded in 1889. It is also used by the East Bengal Football Club
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It was initially built in 1891, making it the oldest soccer stadium in Asia. It has been the host of several critical and historical events, such as the first-ever match between an Indian club and a foreign club, the first-ever I-League game, and the first-ever Durand Cup match.
It has a capacity of around 30,000 seats and has undergone several renovations and upgrades over the years. It has also hosted several important football matches, including the Derby match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, considered one of the most famous and intense rivalries in Indian football.
As depicted here, the oldest football stadiums in the world have stood the test of time and remain structures of substantial historical significance in the modern day.
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