The folk-games of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were vastly different from the sports we play today in numerous aspects of their structure, style etc. One of the shifts observed by Guttmann (1979) and others has been the secularisation of sport. One significant feature of folk-pastimes was their link to the ecclesiastical calendar and religious events. Malcolmson (1973) notes that the principal games of folk-football often took place on Shrove Tuesday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. However scheduling of sport in contemporary times is generally unrelated to the church or religious events.
Furthermore folk-pastimes were very simple in their organisational and administrative structure. As Malcolmson (1973) points out, often games began spontaneously with the venue being the environment the individuals were in, such as the streets of a town. Thus during these times bureaucratic structures did not exist. Organisation of activities lay in the hands of the participants and to a degree this was reflected in a more ludic sport form. In contemporary times a definite bureaucratisation of sport has occurred with networks of governing and overseeing organisations operating in every competitive sport, examples include soccer's FA, UEFA and FIFA. Government intervention is also significant in present times.
Generally folk-pastimes saw little specialisation. Games involved large numbers and specified positions and differentiated tasks did not exist. As Phillips (1996) states:.
" there was room for everybody and a sharply defined role for no-one."".
Furthermore, distinction between participants and spectators was not clearly defined and individuals could switch at will. In modern elite-sport specialisation can be observed to a very large degree. Even up to the 1960s numerous examples of individuals, e.g. Dennis Compton, representing their nation at two different sports existed. Only a matter of decades later individuals such as Bo Jackson, who played elite level baseball and American football in the US, are exceptional cases.