Medieval Europe was not exactly the best place in time and space to live in, but people had their share of fun and sports despite the harshness of life, but those sports indeed, were a little bit more brutal than what we have today.
Football evolved during that time in the old continent but it was prohibited by kings of all sorts because they favoured activities that would serve to train combatants. In other words, they wanted people to practice military-like sports and tournaments, jousts, meleés, the Carrousel, Pas´d armes and other now almost forgotten practices became commonplace. Mostly these were more or less benign clashes between armoured knights; the games simulated real combat but over time became more specific activities that were more related to sport and showmanship that actual warfare.
The games were very expensive and common people could just develop their own, limited versions, mostly consisting in foot combat using wooden weapons, but the big tournaments were even sponsored by royalty and became grand spectacles. In some cases, these clashes ended in violent riots and even civil war or real battles. Some kings, especially in England, were rather wary of the games, but allowed them for political or financial reasons, since they taxed participants and good money was made, and very heavy betting was the rule during those days.
Over time and as culture evolved, public lost interest in the games; this added to concerns of the Church about violence, which was real, since kights got killed frequently, and tournaments disappeared almost completely during the seventeenth century. Now only a handful of enthusiasts in Europe continue the tradition.Related: Gambling and betting systems