The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

The announcement of the founding of the fourth Shanghai Football Club in November 1892

The team list from the first  match played by the fourth Shanghai Football Club, a game of rugby, in November 1892

The October 1903 AGM of the fourth Shanghai Football Club exposed the tensions between the rugby and association players

HMS Astraea was one of the many British Navy vessels that provided opposition for the fourth Shanghai Football Club.

The fourth Shanghai Football Club (SFC4) was established in November 1892 and its first game was under rugby rules between 'the Bund' and 'the Slums'. In its first season it played against HMS Severn several times and intra club games with teams made up from club members such as A to L vs M to Z, the Whites team and the World team. 

  In the following few seasons a healthy fixture list was maintained many against a selection of ships from the British Navy such as HMSs Severn, Bonaventure, Astraea, Plover, Sirius, Talbot,  Peacock, Rattler and others.

​  There was a lull in games for the years 1896 to 1900 when it became more difficult to find fixtures, one observer noted that when men arrive in Shanghai they are keen to play but soon give it up. Things picked up from the 1900 - 01 season but there was trouble brewing between the rugby and football playing members. At this time it seemed that players were starting to choose one code over another rather than keen to play both codes. This reflects the change in rules for each code that increasingly made the games different from each other. 

 Things came to a head in the October 1903 AGM when a request made to have two Secretaries in the club, a rugby one and an association was rejected. A compromise was reached when it was agreed that there could be a rugby sub-committee formed. Accordingly Mr G M Billings, Mr, H Crombie and Mr W E Keay were elected as rugby representatives. This accommodation only lasted one season. Before the start of the 1904 - 05 season the SFC4 was split in two as a separate Shanghai Rugby Football Club (SRFC) was formed in 1904.


The fourth Shanghai Football Club