Marindin was a keen footballer and played in goal for the Old Etonians. In 1869 he helped establish the Royal Engineers Football team and was a member of the team that reached the first FA Cup Final in 1872. At this time Marindin was playing at right-back and was captain of the team. Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers 1-0 at the Kennington Oval.
According to Frederick Wall, the Royal Engineers pioneered the passing game at a time when most clubs placed an emphasis on the long-ball or dribbling. To popularize football, the club toured the industrial areas of England. This included playing games in Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.
The Engineers were also defeated by Oxford University in 1874 but won the competition in 1875 when they beat Old Etonians 2-0. Unfortunately, Marindin was serving overseas and missed the final. The Engineers suffered only three defeats in 86 games between 1871 and 1875.
After retiring from playing he became one of the country's finest referees. This is reflected in the fact that he officiated in eight FA Cup Finals. He was considered "one of the outstanding referees who really knows the rules". Marindin was also President of the Football Association (1874-79).
Marindin retired from the Royal Engineers in 1879 at the rank of Major and later became a member of the Board of Trade Railway Inspectorate. He became Senior Inspector of Railways in 1895. In 1899 he submitted a report on accidents on railway workers on which a new Act of Parliament concerning rail safety was based. He helped develop London's new electrical lighting system and was knighted in 1897.
Francis Marindin died in 1900.