More than one hundred years ago, an inhabitant of Sinj embedded a stela found in Gardun on the façade of the house he was building located in the present Vrlicka Street.
The headstone shows a young boy Gaj Laberian holding a ball in his hand. It was later proved and published in the official paper of UEFA that the boy was holding a football in his hand which also reveals that the Cetina region is the ancient homeland of football.
Did football originate in England or in Dalmatia?
Or perhaps even by Thracians who were Illyrian kin folk?
This silver-gilt bowl from Zareva mogila-tumulus near Shipka, Kazanluk region, 3rd c. BC. is clearly showing football design that is kept to this day.
July 1973: The game of football started in Dalmatia and not in England?
The Illyrians Dalmati have been kicking the leather ball even before our era!
Thanks to the persistent research by the archaeologist Josip Britvić, the Dalmatian Zagora has been given a new, unique and for the whole world a somewhat strange attraction. According to what Britvic found, and later confirmed by special envoys of the International Football Federation, football was not born in England - but in the valley of Cetina, near Sinj!
This is evidenced by two thousand years old stone relief. He shows a young man and a football ball, and is housed in a family home. In fact, there is something above the entrance to the sewing machine shop, just across the main city square.
How did a monument with a young man's figure and a soccer ball come to this building in Sinj?
Following the explanations provided by the loving Sini Archeologist Britvić, the monument was excavated in the village of Gardun near Trilja in the middle of last century.
A little later, the first owner of the present home sent him to Sinj and installed it in his apartment building, hoping that his home would be different from the others in the then small place.
How the rules of football played in Cetina Valley were not known to anyone. However, it is certain that all the features of the monument have begun to nurture Iliri Dalmati. They were perhaps the most important of all Illyrian warriors.
It is known that for over 200 years they have been defending successfully before the Roman Empire, not allowing them to plunder them as other tribes and peoples along the Mediterranean coast. And they were not only brilliant warriors, but also, in their spare time, they skillfully bred cattle and dealt with the farm. Especially from their hands were the processing of metal and stone. This is evidenced by the many monuments that left them behind. With all of its activities, much needed to maintain the type, Iliri Dalmati were happy to have fun, and a special leather ball that was frappantly to the today's popular "bubamara"!
They played some kind of football. He was so popular and he conquered the viewers that the members of the Roman legions immediately accepted it once they had succeeded in conquering and subjugating brave warriors from the present Dalmatian Zagora.
It happened in the great war from the sixth to the ninth year before the new era. In it, the brave warriors finally laid down their weapons. In general romance and they accepted all the habits of the lives of many conquerors who also did not dare to accept the habits of the natives. Of course, the ones they liked. So playing with a leather ball got new enthusiasts. Soon it spread to all the Roman legions. It became the most popular party of the lowest representatives of the Roman army, and was nurtured by its commanders.
Like all his peers and a seventeen-year-old son of a Commander of the Centurion, he liked the game with a leather ball. Every day he practiced with friends. So, when he died a bit later in one of the then frequent battles, his father raised his monument, wanted to mark his son's love for a game accepted by the abject tribes.
Thus, on the tombstone, the so-called stela, is depicted by a young man in the sporting equipment of that time - with leather straps. With his right hand he holds a soccer ball consisting of a series of hexagons, which leads to the belief that it is not a ball or some other rounded sports device, but the right ball of ball to play the first football in the world!
Written by: Vinko Bezić (A-Š, 1973)