ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL, more commonly known as FOOTBALL or SOCCER, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball . It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal.
Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms
while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers (and then only when
within their penalty area ). Other players mainly use their feet to
strike or pass the ball, but may also use any part of their body
except the hands and the arms. The team that scores the most goals by
the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the
game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a
penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. The Laws
of the Game were originally codified in
* 1 Name
* 2 History
* 2.1 Women\'s association football
* 2.1.1 Early women\'s football * 2.1.2 20th and 21st century
* 3 Gameplay
* 4 Laws
* 4.1 Players, equipment, and officials * 4.2 Ball * 4.3 Pitch * 4.4 Duration and tie-breaking methods * 4.5 Ball in and out of play
* 4.6 Misconduct
* 4.6.1 On-field * 4.6.2 Off-field
* 5 Governing bodies
Main article: Names for association football
The rules of association football were codified in
English-speaking world , association football is now
usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in
Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South
Phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an
episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National
Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the
Cambridge Rules , first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848,
were particularly influential in the development of subsequent codes,
including association football. The
Cambridge Rules were written at
Trinity College, Cambridge , at a meeting attended by representatives
from Eton , Harrow , Rugby , Winchester and Shrewsbury schools. They
were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected
to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking
world, to play various forms of football. Some came up with their own
distinct codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield
These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association (The FA) in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons\' Tavern in Great Queen Street , London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was Charterhouse . The Freemason's Tavern was the setting for five more meetings between October and December, which eventually produced the first comprehensive set of rules. At the final meeting, the first FA treasurer, the representative from Blackheath , withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting: the first allowed for running with the ball in hand; the second for obstructing such a run by hacking (kicking an opponent in the shins), tripping and holding. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA and instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union . The eleven remaining clubs, under the charge of Ebenezer Cobb Morley , went on to ratify the original thirteen laws of the game. These rules included handling of the ball by "marks" and the lack of a crossbar, rules which made it remarkably similar to Victorian rules football being developed at that time in Australia. The Sheffield FA played by its own rules until the 1870s with the FA absorbing some of its rules until there was little difference between the games.
The world's oldest football competition is the
The laws of the game are determined by the
Today, football is played at a professional level all over the world.
Millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their
favourite teams, while billions more watch the game on television or
on the internet. A very large number of people also play football at
an amateur level. According to a survey conducted by
In many parts of the world football evokes great passions and plays
an important role in the life of individual fans , local communities,
and even nations. R. Kapuscinski says that Europeans who are polite,
modest, or humble fall easily into rage when playing or watching
football games. The Côte d\'Ivoire national football team helped
secure a truce to the nation's civil war in 2006 and it helped
further reduce tensions between government and rebel forces in 2007 by
playing a match in the rebel capital of
Bouaké , an occasion that
brought both armies together peacefully for the first time. By
contrast, football is widely considered to have been the final
proximate cause for the
WOMEN\'S ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL
Main article: Women\'s association football A women's international match between the United States and Germany
Early Women\'s Football
Women may have been playing "football" for as long as the game has existed. Evidence shows that an ancient version of the game ( Tsu Chu ) was played by women during the Han Dynasty (25–220 CE). Two female figures are depicted in Han Dynasty (25–220 CE) frescoes, playing Tsu Chu. There are, however, a number of opinions about the accuracy of dates, the earliest estimates at 5000 BCE.
Association football, the modern game, also has documented early
involvement of women. An annual competition in Mid-Lothian, Scotland
during the 1790s is reported, too. In 1863, football governing
bodies introduced standardised rules to prohibit violence on the
pitch, making it more socially acceptable for women to play. The
first match recorded by the Scottish
The most well-documented early European team was founded by activist
Nettie Honeyball in
Women's football became popular on a large scale at the time of the
First World War , when employment in heavy industry spurred the growth
of the game, much as it had done for men fifty years earlier. The most
successful team of the era was Dick, Kerr\'s Ladies of Preston,
Despite being more popular than some men's football events (one match
saw a 53,000 strong crowd), women's football in
20th And 21st Century
The growth in women's football has seen major competitions being
launched at both national and international level mirroring the male
competitions. Women's football has faced many struggles. It had a
"golden age" in the United Kingdom in the early 1920s when crowds
reached 50,000 at some matches; this was stopped on 5 December 1921
A goalkeeper saving a close-range shot from inside the penalty area
The primary law is that players other than goalkeepers may not deliberately handle the ball with their hands or arms during play, though they must use both their hands during a throw-in restart. Although players usually use their feet to move the ball around they may use any part of their body (notably, "heading" with the forehead) other than their hands or arms. Within normal play, all players are free to play the ball in any direction and move throughout the pitch, though the ball cannot be received in an offside position. A player executing a slide tackle to dispossess an opponent
During gameplay, players attempt to create goal-scoring opportunities
through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling , passing
the ball to a teammate, and by taking shots at the goal, which is
guarded by the opposing goalkeeper. Opposing players may try to regain
control of the ball by intercepting a pass or through tackling the
opponent in possession of the ball; however, physical contact between
opponents is restricted.
At a professional level, most matches produce only a few goals. For example, the 2005–06 season of the English Premier League produced an average of 2.48 goals per match. The Laws of the Game do not specify any player positions other than goalkeeper, but a number of specialised roles have evolved. Broadly, these include three main categories: strikers , or forwards, whose main task is to score goals; defenders , who specialise in preventing their opponents from scoring; and midfielders , who dispossess the opposition and keep possession of the ball to pass it to the forwards on their team. Players in these positions are referred to as outfield players, to distinguish them from the goalkeeper. These positions are further subdivided according to the area of the field in which the player spends most time. For example, there are central defenders, and left and right midfielders. The ten outfield players may be arranged in any combination. The number of players in each position determines the style of the team's play; more forwards and fewer defenders creates a more aggressive and offensive-minded game, while the reverse creates a slower, more defensive style of play. While players typically spend most of the game in a specific position, there are few restrictions on player movement, and players can switch positions at any time. The layout of a team's players is known as a formation . Defining the team's formation and tactics is usually the prerogative of the team's manager .
"Rules of football" redirects here. For the rules of other football
There are 17 laws in the official Laws of the Game, each containing a
collection of stipulation and guidelines. The same laws are designed
to apply to all levels of football, although certain modifications for
groups such as juniors, seniors, women and people with physical
disabilities are permitted. The laws are often framed in broad terms,
which allow flexibility in their application depending on the nature
of the game. The Laws of the Game are published by FIFA, but are
maintained by the
PLAYERS, EQUIPMENT, AND OFFICIALS
Each team consists of a maximum of eleven players (excluding substitutes ), one of whom must be the goalkeeper . Competition rules may state a minimum number of players required to constitute a team, which is usually seven. Goalkeepers are the only players allowed to play the ball with their hands or arms, provided they do so within the penalty area in front of their own goal. Though there are a variety of positions in which the outfield (non-goalkeeper) players are strategically placed by a coach, these positions are not defined or required by the Laws.
The basic equipment or kit players are required to wear includes a shirt, shorts, socks, footwear and adequate shin guards . An athletic supporter and protective cup is highly recommended for male players by medical experts and professionals. Headgear is not a required piece of basic equipment, but players today may choose to wear it to protect themselves from head injury. Players are forbidden to wear or use anything that is dangerous to themselves or another player, such as jewellery or watches. The goalkeeper must wear clothing that is easily distinguishable from that worn by the other players and the match officials.
A number of players may be replaced by substitutes during the course of the game. The maximum number of substitutions permitted in most competitive international and domestic league games is three, though the permitted number may vary in other competitions or in friendly matches . Common reasons for a substitution include injury, tiredness, ineffectiveness, a tactical switch, or timewasting at the end of a finely poised game. In standard adult matches, a player who has been substituted may not take further part in a match. IFAB recommends "that a match should not continue if there are fewer than seven players in either team." Any decision regarding points awarded for abandoned games is left to the individual football associations.
A game is officiated by a referee , who has "full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed" (Law 5), and whose decisions are final. The referee is assisted by two assistant referees . In many high-level games there is also a fourth official who assists the referee and may replace another official should the need arise.
Main article: Ball (association football)
The ball is spherical with a circumference of between 68 and 70 centimetres (27 and 28 in), a weight in the range of 410 to 450 grams (14 to 16 oz), and a pressure between 0.6 and 1.1 bars (8.5 and 15.6 pounds per square inch ) at sea level. In the past the ball was made up of leather panels sewn together, with a latex bladder for pressurisation but modern balls at all levels of the game are now synthetic.
As the Laws were formulated in England, and were initially administered solely by the four British football associations within IFAB , the standard dimensions of a football pitch were originally expressed in imperial units . The Laws now express dimensions with approximate metric equivalents (followed by traditional units in brackets), though use of imperial units remains popular in English-speaking countries with a relatively recent history of metrication (or only partial metrication), such as Britain.
The length of the pitch, or field, for international adult matches is in the range of 100–110 m (110–120 yd) and the width is in the range of 64–75 m (70–80 yd). Fields for non-international matches may be 90–120 m (100–130 yd) length and 45–90 m (50–100 yd) in width, provided that the pitch does not become square. In 2008, the IFAB initially approved a fixed size of 105 m (344 ft) long and 68 m (223 ft) wide as a standard pitch dimension for international matches; however, this decision was later put on hold and was never actually implemented.
The longer boundary lines are touchlines, while the shorter boundaries (on which the goals are placed) are goal lines. A rectangular goal is positioned at the middle of each goal line. The inner edges of the vertical goal posts must be 24 feet (7.3 m) apart, and the lower edge of the horizontal crossbar supported by the goal posts must be 8 feet (2.4 m) above the ground. Nets are usually placed behind the goal, but are not required by the Laws.
In front of the goal is the penalty area. This area is marked by the goal line, two lines starting on the goal line 16.5 m (18 yd) from the goalposts and extending 16.5 m (18 yd) into the pitch perpendicular to the goal line, and a line joining them. This area has a number of functions, the most prominent being to mark where the goalkeeper may handle the ball and where a penalty foul by a member of the defending team becomes punishable by a penalty kick. Other markings define the position of the ball or players at kick-offs , goal kicks, penalty kicks and corner kicks.
DURATION AND TIE-BREAKING METHODS
A standard adult football match consists of two periods of 45 minutes
each, known as halves. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the
clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play. There is usually a
15-minute half-time break between halves. The end of the match is
known as full-time. The referee is the official timekeeper for the
match, and may make an allowance for time lost through substitutions,
injured players requiring attention, or other stoppages. This added
time is called additional time in
In league competitions, games may end in a draw. In knockout competitions where a winner is required various methods may be employed to break such a deadlock, some competitions may invoke replays . A game tied at the end of regulation time may go into extra time, which consists of two further 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, some competitions allow the use of penalty shootouts (known officially in the Laws of the Game as "kicks from the penalty mark") to determine which team will progress to the next stage of the tournament. Goals scored during extra time periods count towards the final score of the game, but kicks from the penalty mark are only used to decide the team that progresses to the next part of the tournament (with goals scored in a penalty shootout not making up part of the final score).
In competitions using two-legged matches , each team competes at home once, with an aggregate score from the two matches deciding which team progresses. Where aggregates are equal, the away goals rule may be used to determine the winners, in which case the winner is the team that scored the most goals in the leg they played away from home. If the result is still equal, extra time and potentially a penalty shootout are required.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the
IFAB experimented with ways of
creating a winner without requiring a penalty shootout, which was
often seen as an undesirable way to end a match. These involved rules
ending a game in extra time early, either when the first goal in extra
time was scored (golden goal ), or if one team held a lead at the end
of the first period of extra time (silver goal ).
Golden goal was used
at the World Cup in 1998 and 2002 . The first World Cup game decided
by a golden goal was France 's victory over Paraguay in 1998. Germany
was the first nation to score a golden goal in a major competition,
beating Czech Republic in the final of
BALL IN AND OUT OF PLAY
Main article: Ball in and out of play
Under the Laws, the two basic states of play during a game are ball in play and ball out of play. From the beginning of each playing period with a kick-off until the end of the playing period, the ball is in play at all times, except when either the ball leaves the field of play, or play is stopped by the referee. When the ball becomes out of play, play is restarted by one of eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play: A player takes a free kick, while the opposition form a "wall" to try to block the ball
* Kick-off : following a goal by the opposing team, or to begin each period of play. * Throw-in : when the ball has crossed the touchline; awarded to the opposing team to that which last touched the ball. * Goal kick : when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a player of the attacking team; awarded to defending team. * Corner kick : when the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a player of the defending team; awarded to attacking team. * Indirect free kick : awarded to the opposing team following "non-penal" fouls, certain technical infringements, or when play is stopped to caution or dismiss an opponent without a specific foul having occurred. A goal may not be scored directly (without the ball first touching another player) from an indirect free kick. * Direct free kick : awarded to fouled team following certain listed "penal" fouls. A goal may be scored directly from a direct free kick. * Penalty kick : awarded to the fouled team following a foul usually punishable by a direct free kick but that has occurred within their opponent's penalty area. * Dropped-ball : occurs when the referee has stopped play for any other reason, such as a serious injury to a player, interference by an external party, or a ball becoming defective.
Main article: Foul (association football)
Players are cautioned with a yellow card, and dismissed
from the game with a red card. These colours were first introduced at
A foul occurs when a player commits an offence listed in the Laws of the Game while the ball is in play. The offences that constitute a foul are listed in Law 12. Handling the ball deliberately, tripping an opponent, or pushing an opponent, are examples of "penal fouls", punishable by a direct free kick or penalty kick depending on where the offence occurred. Other fouls are punishable by an indirect free kick .
The referee may punish a player's or substitute's misconduct by a caution (yellow card ) or dismissal (red card ). A second yellow card in the same game leads to a red card, and which results in a dismissal. A player given a yellow card is said to have been "booked", the referee writing the player's name in his official notebook. If a player has been dismissed, no substitute can be brought on in their place and the player must leave the field. Misconduct may occur at any time, and while the offences that constitute misconduct are listed, the definitions are broad. In particular, the offence of "unsporting behaviour" may be used to deal with most events that violate the spirit of the game, even if they are not listed as specific offences. A referee can show a yellow or red card to a player, substitute or substituted player. Non-players such as managers and support staff cannot be shown the yellow or red card, but may be expelled from the technical area if they fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner.
Rather than stopping play, the referee may allow play to continue if doing so will benefit the team against which an offence has been committed. This is known as "playing an advantage". The referee may "call back" play and penalise the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue within "a few seconds". Even if an offence is not penalised due to advantage being played, the offender may still be sanctioned for misconduct at the next stoppage of play.
The referee's decision in all on-pitch matters is considered final. The score of a match cannot be altered after the game, even if later evidence shows that decisions (including awards/non-awards of goals) were incorrect.
See also: Foul (association football) § Post-match
Along with the general administration of the sport, football associations and competition organisers also enforce good conduct in wider aspects of the game, dealing with issues such as comments to the press, clubs' financial management, doping , age fraud and match fixing . Most competitions enforce mandatory suspensions for players who are sent off in a game. Some on-field incidents, if considered very serious (such as allegations of racial abuse), may result in competitions deciding to impose heavier sanctions than those normally associated with a red card. Some associations allow for appeals against player suspensions incurred on-field if clubs feel a referee was incorrect or unduly harsh.
Sanctions for such infractions may be levied on individuals or on to clubs as a whole. Penalties may include fines, points deductions (in league competitions) or even expulsion from competitions. For example, the English and Scottish leagues will often deduct 10 points from a team that enters financial administration . Among other administrative sanctions are penalties against game forfeiture. Teams that had forfeited a game or had been forfeited against would be awarded a technical loss or win.
The recognised international governing body of football (and
associated games, such as futsal and beach soccer ) is
* Asia: Asian
National associations oversee football within individual countries.
These are generally synonymous with sovereign states, (for example:
the Fédération Camerounaise de
Main article: List of association football competitions A minute of silence before an international match
The major international competition in football is the World Cup ,
organised by FIFA. This competition takes place every four years since
1930 with the exception of 1942 and 1946 tournaments, which were
cancelled due to
World War II
There has been a football tournament at every Summer Olympic Games
since 1900 , except at the 1932 games in Los Angeles . Before the
inception of the World Cup, the Olympics (especially during the 1920s)
were the most prestigious international event. Originally, the
tournament was for amateurs only. As professionalism spread around
the world, the gap in quality between the World Cup and the Olympics
widened. The countries that benefited most were the Soviet Bloc
After the World Cup, the most important international football
competitions are the continental championships, which are organised by
each continental confederation and contested between national teams.
These are the European Championship (UEFA), the Copa América
African Cup of Nations
Main article: Association football around the world A match in the men's top football league of Germany
The governing bodies in each country operate league systems in a domestic season , normally comprising several divisions , in which the teams gain points throughout the season depending on results. Teams are placed into tables , placing them in order according to points accrued. Most commonly, each team plays every other team in its league at home and away in each season, in a round-robin tournament . At the end of a season, the top team is declared the champion. The top few teams may be promoted to a higher division, and one or more of the teams finishing at the bottom are relegated to a lower division.
The teams finishing at the top of a country's league may be eligible also to play in international club competitions in the following season. The main exceptions to this system occur in some Latin American leagues, which divide football championships into two sections named Apertura and Clausura (Spanish for Opening and Closing), awarding a champion for each. The majority of countries supplement the league system with one or more "cup" competitions organised on a knock-out basis.
Some countries' top divisions feature highly paid star players; in
smaller countries and lower divisions, players may be part-timers with
a second job, or amateurs. The five top European leagues – the
VARIANTS AND CASUAL PLAY
Variants of association football and
Variants of football have been codified for reduced-sized teams (i.e. five-a-side football ) play in non-field environments (i.e. beach soccer , indoor soccer , and futsal ) and for teams with disabilities (i.e. paralympic association football ).
Casual games can be played with only minimal equipment – a basic game can be played on almost any open area of reasonable size with just a ball and items to mark the positions of two sets of goalposts. Such games can have team sizes that vary from eleven-a-side, can use a limited or modified subset of the official rules, and can be self-officiated by the players.
* Association football culture * Association football tactics and skills * List of association football clubs * List of association football stadiums by country * List of men\'s national association football teams * List of women\'s national association football teams * List of top association football goal scorers * List of women\'s association football clubs * Lists of association football players
* ^ See Names for association football * ^ For example, the English Premier League fined and levied an 8-match suspension on Luis Suárez for racially abusing Patrice Evra * ^ The number of competing teams has varied over the history of the competition. The most recent changed was in 1998 , from 24 to 32.
* ^ "In a globalised world, the football World Cup is a force for
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* ^ Circumference -
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