14.5.13

Colombia

National Military School v  Polo Club Football

Colombia did not enter into international football until 1938, so we do not cover any of their exploits on these pages.
The development of the domestic game, however, is a point of interest. 
The traditional establishment story was a familiar one- with football matches played by English engineers building the railway from Barranquilla to Puerto Salgar (on the country's Atlantic coast) in the first few years of the 20th century. The game developed in this area - but contrary to popular belief it seems that Barranquilla was not the cradle of Colombian football.
The first football in Colombia was actually played in the capital, Bogotá. In 1880 an American, Colonel Henry R Lemly, was seconded to the  National Military School in Bogota. He had been drawn to football and it's salutary qualities when travelling in Europe. In 1887 (on returning from a trip to Britain) he introduced association football at the Military School, following the model of the English public schools in using sport as a means of developing both the character and the health of students. 

One of the most popular games established in foreign schools, is the one the English call football, which  arrived in our country some time ago. This game is hygienic because it gives force, agility and it strengthens the body. The gentleman Colonel Lemly has established it in the Military School...
El Telegrama (1892 -the paper also published a translation of the Laws of the Game).

The game spread from the Military School, and Polo Club Football was established in Bogotá in 1902. Prime movers in the establishment of this club were Don Alvaro Uribe and the brothers Joachim and Thomas Brush Samper. They were  joined by the brothers José María and Carlos Obregón, who had become football enthusiasts whilst studying in England. The Obregóns later formed Bogotá F.C.(1906).
The notion of muscular Christianity also found favour in the Jesuit Colegio de San Bartolomé. The club representing alumni of the college, Bartolinos, was founded in 1907. 
According to RSSSF The first championships (Campeonato Nacional) were contested exclusively by clubs from Bogotá in 1918, with Bartolinos defeating Colombia FC in the final. There were, however, other, earlier league and cup competitions in Bogotá .
Copa Restrepo (established by  President Restrepo) was first contested in 1912. Polo Club emerged as champions ( 2 wins, 1 draw) over  Bartolinos, Military School and  Bogotá F.C.. 
The second edition of Copa Restrepo (1913) featured 14 clubs (Polo Club, Bartolinos, Club Inglés,  Colombia FC , Bogota FC , Military School, Tequendama FC , Santander FC,  Club Chile, Liberty Club, City Club, Club República,  Club América and Club Nariño). Colombia FC won the cup.
The third and final Copa Restrepo was held in 1914. 6 new clubs featured ( Bolívar, Tarqui, Ricaurte, Sporting, Stard Club, The Albion, El Rosario;  Bogota FC and City Club had merged).  Polo Club defeated Colombia FC 1-0 in the play-off
In September 1914 the  Colegio de San Bartolomé instituted the Copa Mayor Bartolina. The 9 entrants were  Tequendama, Bartolinos, Club American, London, Internos del Instituto de La Salle, Sporting, Polo Club , Colombia FC , Internos Bartolinos, Pío X.
Polo Club beat Bartolinos 2-1 (aet) in the final play off.


Federación Colombiana de Fútbol was founded in 1924 and became affiliated to  FIFA in 1936.

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