Many Londoners are sports fans. The British Open Tennis Tournament — known as “Wimbledon”, the name of the London suburb where it is played — is the oldest and most famous tennis championship tournament in the world. Other favourite British sports include soccer (which Londoners call football), rugby, horse racing and cricket.
Football is one of the most popular games all over England. The English have played football for many centuries. It is a historical fact that Henry VIII passed a law forbidding men to play football because it took them away from archery. But it didn’t stop football in England.
Rugby Football (or “rugger”) is played with an oval ball which may be carried. It has been called after Rugby School, an English Public school, where football was first played that way. Each team has fifteen players.
Horse Racing. Next to football, the chief spectator sport in English life is horse racing. There are a number of race tracks all over the country, and each of these has a certain number of “meetings” every year, each meeting consisting of several days of racing.
Cricket is an open-air game played with a ball, bats and wickets, between two sides of 11 players each. Cricket may be called the national game of the English. It comes next to football, and a good cricketer is very popular not only among cricket fans.