Sport plays a prominent role in English life. Popular team sports in England are association football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league. Major individual sports include athletics, tennis, golf, motorsport, and horseracing. A number of modern sports were codified in England during the nineteenth century, among them cricket, rugby union, rugby league, association football, tennis and badminton. The game of baseball was first described in eighteenth century England.
Although it differs from sport to sport, English sport often has fierce rivalries with Scottish and particularly Australian sport, which spans the whole sporting spectrum.,
There are four sports in England which operate high profile professional leagues. Association football is the most popular sport and is played from August to May. Rugby union is also a winter sport. Cricket is played in the Summer, from April to September. Rugby league is traditionally a winter sport, but since the late 1990s the elite competition has been played in the summer to appeal to the family market, and take advantage of the faster pitches. There are also professional leagues in basketball and ice hockey, but while these have small but loyal fanbases, they struggle to attract attention from the general media. Many other sports have amateur leagues.
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