Belgium was one of the first mainland European countries to play association football. Its practice in Belgium began on 26 October 1863, after an Irish student walked into the Josephites College of melle with a leather ball. Initially an elitist pastime,during the following decades association football supplanted rugby as Belgium’s most popular football sport. On 1 September 1895, ten clubs for football, athletics, cricket and cycling founded the Belgian sports board Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports Athlétiques (UBSSA);a year later UBSSA organised the first annual league in Belgian footbal