King James I and Sporting Regulations

Regulators usually use a light touch on the world of sport. There is the occasional grandstanding Congressional hearing about steroids, and the odd murmur of antitrust violations. But that’s usually the extent of it. Things were different in medieval Scotland:

James I legislated in 1428 in an attempt to stop people from playing football because it distracted them from archery practice[.]

-Allan Massie, The Royal Stuarts: A History of the Family that Shaped Britain location 281 of the Kindle edition.

Business before pleasure, gentlemen. Or else.

Worth noting: this is James I of Scotland, not the King James who commissioned the famous Bible translation. That man was King James I of England, and simultaneously King James VI of Scotland. Nearly two centuries separated them, though both were members of the Stuart royal family.


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