Rugby is a collective name for the family of team sports of rugby union and rugby league, as well as the earlier forms of football from which both games, as well as Australian rules football and gridiron football, evolved.
The two variants of gridiron football — Canadian football and, to a lesser extent, American football — were once considered forms of rugby football but are seldom now referred to as such. In fact, the governing body of Canadian football, Football Canada, was known as the Canadian Rugby Union as late as 1967, more than fifty years after the sport parted ways with the established rules of rugby union or league.
Rugby football was thought to have been started about 1845 at Rugby School in Rugby, Warwickshire, England although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby split into two sports in 1895, when twenty-one clubs split from the Rugby Football Union to form the Northern Rugby Football Union in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, over broken-time payments to players who took time off from work to play the sport, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay players.