The Football Association of Wales (FAW) was founded in Wrexham in February 1876 by a group of businessmen who wanted a representative team to play against Scotland. They wished to emulate the matches between the Scots and the English that had begun four years before.
The game against Scotland eventually took place in Glasgow in March 1876. The Welsh side, comprising ten players with connections in north Wales and a solitary player from the south, lost 4-0. The return match the next year in Wrexham ended in a 2-0 defeat.
Football in Wales would be dominated by the north in the early years of the FAW, as clubs such as Wrexham AFC, Oswestry Town FC and Chirk AAA FC rose to prominence. In 1877/78 the Welsh Cup was introduced with the initial aim of finding players of international calibre. Wrexham were the competition's first winners and soon the tournament became a force in itself, though it was not until 1912 that a side from south Wales, Cardiff City FC, lifted the trophy.
The game finally started to take hold in south Wales in the 1890s, and in 1902 the Welsh Football League was formed. At the same time, however, many Welsh teams began to join the English leagues in search of a higher standard of opponent.
When football resumed after the First World War, then FAW secretary Ted Robbins tried to single-handedly revolutionise the way the sport was run in the country. The difficulties were immense as most top Welsh players were with English clubs and their release and availability for international matches never guaranteed. Nonetheless, Wales won the British Championship in 1907, with subsequent triumphs in 1920, 1924, 1928, 1933, 1934 and 1937.