The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

The exchange of letters published in the North China Daily News in June 1892 between the SRC and the SFC3 ultimately led to the formation of a fourth Shanghai Football Club in November 1892.

Things were already on shaky ground when the formation of the third Shanghai Football Club was announced in November 1889. Alongside this announcement was the match report and the team list for the club's first game, a list that included men who were or went on to become significant members of the Shanghai foreigners community.

  When the new Shanghai Recreation Club (SRC) was born from the ashes of the Shanghai Athletic Club, its relationship with the footballers was difficult. No rugby matches and only a few association matches were played in the first few years. Issues arose again about how much the footballers should pay to be a member of the SRC

  The third Shanghai Football Club (SFC3) was formed sometime in 1889 in direct competition to the second Shanghai Football Club which was by now existing within the SRC. The exact date of the founding of the SFC3 is not recorded but we know from the published minutes of the Shanghai Recreation Club (SRC) that it was soon realised that there were not enough football players to make up two seperate teams and that the committee of SFC3 had forced the committee of the SRC to recognise it as the sole Shanghai Football Club. 

  In November 1889, the first rugby game for almost two years was played. On a Wednesday afternoon at the recreation ground the practice match was played by teams representing ‘C., A. & M.’ and ‘The Rest’. The players were noted to be ‘very much out of condition’. (If any body knows what C., A. & M stands for please let me know!).

 SFC3 continued as a member of the SRC for a few more seasons but relationships continued to be tense. There was continual griping about how much the footballers were being asked to pay and how much the SRC wanted them to pay.

  By late 1891, a year when no rugby was played, the SRC was apparently only interested in being a cricket club which led to heated exchange of letters between the protaganists. These letters went public in the summer of 1892 being published in the North China Daily News as each side in the argument justified its case. The footballers were able to show that the published minutes of the SRC AGM misrepresented their case and gave them the moral high ground.

 With relations at an all time low the inevitable happened, a new Shanghai Football Club was formed, the fourth, and for the first time in twenty-five years the Shanghai Football Club was in charge of its own destiny, not having to rely on the wishes of other clubs or sports.


The third Shanghai Football Club