London, Oct 8: Buckingham Palace held its first official football match to mark FA’s 150th anniversary Monday when Prince William also paid tribute to the 150 selected volunteers that help deliver and support the country’s favourite game, Xinhua reported.
The match is an official Southern Amateur League fixture, which was played between Civil Service FC, the sole surviving one of the eleven clubs that met to found The FA in 1863, and Polytechnic FC, which was formed in 1875.
With special permission from Buckingham Palace for the game to take place, Wembley groundsman Tony Stones worked with the Royal Household gardeners to create the pitch for the unique grassroots match, which was in charge of by Premier League referee Howard Webb.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am that later today we will be playing football on my grandmother’s lawn,” said Prince William before the kick-off.
Prince William, President of The Football Association (FA), also showed his humour by adding that: “One warning, though: if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to her.”
Prior to the match, the medal ceremony was held as a way of honouring the volunteers’ work in football on a weekly basis.
According to the FA, the nationwide network of grassroots heroes totals more than 400,000 individuals, including everyone from the players’ parents, coaches, referees and administrators that help provide the opportunity for people to enjoy football.
In his speech, Prince William said: ” Grassroots football thrives on the support of its volunteers week after week. You and your colleagues are the original games-makers, and we are all in your debt for it.
“You change lives, you give people meaning, enjoyment, perspective, a release, an outlet; you bring people together and inject fun, laughter, passion, goals and challenges into others’ lives. It is people like you who make our country what it is. ”