From the Daily Mail on November 7th:
For years, Freemasonry has battled conspiracy theories that its members secretly run the world – but now the shadowy organisation is planning to rule the football field.
This week, the organisation’s Grand Master, the Duke of Kent, is set to grant a warrant for the first Football Lodge – a place where members meet – in Hampshire.
Players, managers and referees who are Masons will gather four times a year to listen to guest lecturers from the world of football as well as perform a series of Masonic rituals, though the organisation claims that many of the stereotypes, such as secret handshakes, are false.
In recent years the Masons have sought to expand their appeal by setting up a range of ‘special interest’ lodges.
Groups include a biker gang called the Widows Sons and ‘a Lodge of Brevity’ for the ‘modern man’ where meetings are about half the normal four hours.
The Football Association was formed in 1863 at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London – now The Grand Connaught Rooms.
Stars including Stanley Matthews, Dixie Dean and Nat Lofthouse were all Masons.
Freemasons are also responsible for Premier League team Manchester City playing in blue. In 1894 the club was in a financial crisis and was bailed out by Masons, who asked that in return the team wear the Masonic colour of blue.
A petition to form a Football Lodge will be considered at this week’s meeting of the Grand Master’s Council.