The Jersey Football Association was founded in 1905 and now, well over a century on, continues to be the governing body for the sport in the island.
On July 24th 1905, representatives of clubs in the Jersey Football League met at the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society headquarters (then in Church Street), and decided to form the JFA. Mr. Thos F Adderson was appointed as the organisation’s inaugural president, the first of 16 who have carried out that role to date.
During the 1906-07 season, Guernsey FA received a letter from Upton Park FC, who offered a challenge trophy to commemorate their many pleasant trips to the Channel Islands. This would become known as the 'Upton Park Trophy' and would eventually be contested by the league winners of Guernsey and Jersey, with the trophy still competed for to this day.
Football continued to develop in Jersey up until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The league had become so depleted of players that in a Special General Meeting, held on the 7th December 1914, it was decided that all football should cease. The Association did not reconvene until the winter of 1918 and it took a further year until a competitive league returned.
After the war, the Jersey Football Association introduced a number of Association Cups including the Wheway Memorial Trophy in 1919, John Tregear Memorial Cup in 1927 and the Willis Cup in 1929.
The Occupation of the Channel Islands in 1940 brought with it new and serious problems for local football, and although the Association was not permitted to function during those years it went “underground” and shortly after the German Occupation began, a subcommittee was created to keep the game alive. Football pitches were requisitioned for military purposes and fixtures were, understandably, disrupted.
Away from the island, in 1942, a group of Jerseymen participating in the Bury District League faced a Guernsey XI in unofficial Murrati. In 1943 and 1944 more unofficial Murattis took place in Laufen Internment Camp, Bavaria, Germany.
Following the island’s liberation in 1945 the Jersey FA Senior Representative side took to the field against a team made up from the liberating British Army.
The 1950s saw the rise of Graeme Le Maistre, arguably one of Jersey’s most successful Muratti players, scoring 24 goals in 21 Muratti games. However, it is Graeme Le Saux who came through the St Paul’s ranks in the 1980s, who is regarded as the island’s most prominent player of all time. The left-back went on to represent Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Southampton and England.
In 1986 the Jersey FA founded the Centre of Excellence to provide an advanced player pathway for youngsters in the island. The Centre of Excellence continues to this day, it has grown from a single group of U14 boys to 112 boys and 60 girls (participating in the Player Development Centre) across seven age groups. The Centre is known for supporting the development of some of Jersey’s most talented footballers including, Brett Pitman, Peter Vincenti and Kurtis Guthrie.
In 2015 Jersey’s women’s side had their finest moment, winning the Island Games tournament on home soil with a 1-0 victory over Aland in the final at Springfield. A year later Jersey hosted the 100th men’s Muratti, with former Aston Villa and Leicester manager Brian Little in charge as his side beat Guernsey 1-0 at Springfield thanks to Luke Watson’s strike.
Around that time the JFA had launched a bid to become a member of Uefa, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Gibraltar and compete on the international stage. The bid was rejected though at Uefa’s annual congress in February 2018, with 49 nations voting against the move.
In February 2019 the Jersey FA and the Jersey Football Combination, which runs the league and cup competitions in the island, agreed to merge. From the 2019-20 season the JFA will oversee these competitions.