An Introduction to Football
Football, also known as association football and soccer is according to FIFA played by about 250 million players in over 200 countries. The sport, however, is also extremely popular among the general population as the most prestigious matches attract crowds of 100,000 or more in some stadiums and many more in front of television. In short, football is the most popular sport in the world.
Rules of the Sport
Football is played by two teams consisting of 11 players each. The two teams compete for the ball and try to score the opponent’s goal in the middle of each of the short ends. With the exception of goalkeepers, the players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms inside the field. The field players are allowed to use hands only for throw-in. But when the ball is in the field, they can use their feet to kick the ball and occasionally, other parts of the body such as the upper parts of legs, torso and the head but not the hands and arms.
The team that scores most goals wins the match. If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play, it either ends with a draw or continues into extra time (two times 15 minutes). If the score is still tied after the extra time, a penalty shoot-out determines the winner.
The rules of the game of football were set in England by The Football Association in 1863 but they were modified several times since then. Today, the Laws of the Game are controlled by the International Football Association Board but the FIFA representatives account for one half of the Board’s members. The FIFA also acts as the international governing body of football and organises the most prestigious of all football events – the FIFA World Cup. It is held every four years and contested by men’s national teams of the member states.
One of the main reasons why football is so popular all over the world is also due to the fact that it can be played with minimal equipment. The game can be played on nearly every open area. All that is needed is a ball and a few items to mark the two goalposts. Regular trainings and matches, however, require a few pieces of equipment which are an imperative. Besides a pair of shorts and T-shirt that are typically provided by the club, every football player should have:
- football boots with studs on the out-sole
- shin guards
- a pair of gloves (goalkeepers only)
Variations of Football
Various forms of the game exist and typically involve reduced-sized teams and reduced-sized field environments. Examples include five-a-side football, beach football, indoor football and Futsal.