1.      Pierre
de Coubertin was a French educator and historian born on the first day of
January of 1863. What Pierre is most famously known for is his central role in
reviving the Olympic Games in the year of 1896. Tied to that, he is known for
being a founding member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and
serving as the president for the next thirty years. Before he founded the IOC,
Baron de Coubertin was a French professor and historian making his future
accomplishments extremely unlikely. When he was only eight years old, the
French lost the Franco-Prussian War to the Germans. Coubertin
planned on focusing on physical education in the late 19th century because he
believed that if France were to become an athletic power, then they could be
saved from military humiliation. With this, he planned on changing physical
education for the French. This however did not pan out as Pierre had hoped and
because of this he traveled to England and America to study athletics for they
were far more superior in athletics than the French were at the time. “…sports
such as football, taken up in France in the late nineteenth century and molded
around Pierre de Coubertin’s ideas.” (Hare 8) As he began to realize this, he
had a thought pop in his head that maybe, if the countries were to compete
against one another, they could better the French athletes who would have to
keep up. Based upon the ancient Olympic games of ancient Greece, Coubertin
unveiled his plans for the new Olympics to the French Union of Athletic Sports
Societies in 1892. Once again, the plan did not work as well as Coubertin would
have wanted to but two years later, he would try again and acquired 79
delegates from 12 different countries to establish the first International
Olympic Committee. For his hard work in attempting to gather countries in
sport, Pierre de Coubertin is widely known as the Father of the Olympics.

2.                  Football (soccer) development in France
was highly influenced by English and the English Premier League. Many French phrases
are tied to English such as ‘penalty’, ‘corner’, ‘la Ligue’ (the league) and ‘le
gardien’ which means the goalkeeper in English. “In France the vocabulary of ‘le
football’ (or ‘le foot’ for short) is still partly English.” (Hare 15) Soccer,
as a whole, was brought to France by means of the British who already had a
relatively successful foundation themselves. Pierre de Coubertin is often
referred to as the founder of the Olympic Movement as said in question 1, he
would not have been able to do all that he did without French football
enthusiasts. Together they were able to establish FIFA (Federation
Internationale de Football Association), UEFA (Union of European Football
Associations), the World Cup and other European championships or competitions. Also
mentioned in the first question was the invasion from Germany that caused the
French to fall trying to defend themselves in 1870. “Sport became part of a
national mission after the military invasion and defeat of France in 1870/71”
(Hare 18) The first French football club was formed shortly after the
government began promoting physical fitness in schools for the youth in
response to what the Germans did in the nineteenth century. In the city of Le
Havre, the Le Havre Athletic Club was formed in 1872 which was the very first
French Football Club ever. This club, being an Athletic club, did more than
just football and included other sports such as rugby and therefore not being
the first absolute football club in France. That would come roughly fifteen years
later with the Paris Association Football Club was formed and officially became
the first absolute French football club. Unfortunately, this club only lasted
two short years as members chose to leave to a club known as Standard Athletic.
While it may not have lasted, this club was soon followed by others like
White-Rovers and Gordon. However, Gordon was found by Scotland and White-Rover
was an English club. Finally, in 1892, France created its very own absolute
football club called Le Club francais. Over the next couple years, football
found itself significant enough to have access to the USFSA (Union des Societes
Francaises de Sports Athletiques) where they held a ‘national’ competition in
1894. “In 1893/94 football had a significant enough presence that clubs were
allowed membership of the USFSA, a multi-sports federation presided over by
Baron Pierre de Coubertin.” (Hare 16) In this national competition, there were
six clubs and was eventually called le championnat de France. Thanks to these
clubs and the competitions altogether, football could finally be revolutionized
in France.

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3.                  Surprisingly, one thing that helped
spread the game of football was World War 1. At this point in time, drafting
young men to serve their country was very popular unlike how things are today.
In order to keep their sanity, these young men needed an escape from the war
and for them that escape was soccer. For fun, these young men would form teams
and compete. Hare claimed that, “The army itself was torn between
the traditionalist, Catholic ideology of its officer class and its Republican
duties to the State”, this dispute caused the army to resign any of their
on-duty players if they were to participate in games under FIFA. One of the
army on-duty army-men was one by the name of Pierre de Coubertin. His liability
was very soon tested when the French international team offered him a spot on the
team. The team only needed one more player and Coubertin was ordered not to
play for the French team considering they were part of FIFA. The day after the
game, in which Coubertin did play, he was punished by his commanding officer
for disobeying orders. This was one of the ways that World War 1 brought
problems for football in France. The first world war would not be the last to have
an affect on football in France as the second world war followed suit. “While
the ‘Union sacrée’ (Sacred Union) had helped the nation put aside its
differences to face the First World War, as they became complicated by and
gradually overshadowed by class and political conflicts opposing capital and
labour.” Unlike the first world war, the second was more of a healing period
and would refrain from causing as many problems as WWI. For the best of his
country, Henri Delaunay was put in charge of bringing together the soccer
federations.