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All About Football

Updated on July 14, 2011


Football is a very enthusiastic and energetic game. It is so involving that it encompasses fans from around the world, of about all age groups. It encourages unity and sense of positive competition among global nations.

Typical football game comprises of 2 teams, consisting of 11 players each, in a field with set dimensions. The referee exists as a regulatory authority to govern rules and regulations of the game. The standard time duration of a game is 90 minutes, which may vary according to the need, as specified by the referee.


History of football is very exciting, which dates back to almost 1000 years. Kicking a ball is an enjoyable game since decades, so, it existed in almost every part of the world from ages. In 1863, rugby football and association football were separated as different categories at England. Football Association came into being as a regulatory authority. Records show that Militants in China, during B.C centuries, used to play this game, which was called, ‘Tsu' Chu’ at that times.

Japanese Kemari, has been played since 500 – 600 years and is still being played. Also The Greek 'Episkyros' is said to be one of the games through which, recent football evolved. The game was known as the mob football as it evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries. The number of players and rules were not defined at that time.

For hundred years, football remained almost the same. In the 19th century, football became popular in schools and from there it developed as it is now, in its highly refined form. First football world cup was played in 1930 between Argentina and Uruguay.


Primarily the laws state that no hands or arms should be used to pass the ball by any player except for the goal keeper. The players have to dribble and pass the ball to create opportunities for a goal.

The goalkeepers on the other hand have the responsibility to guard the goal posts and regain control of the ball, when the ball is near the goal post, intercept it and pass it on. Finally the team that is successful in scoring more goals wins, or if both teams have equal goals the game is declared as a draw.


No specific position other than goal keeper is defined. However, the players do have specialized roles such as:

  1. Strikers or Forwards: They have a specialized role to score goals.

  2. Defenders: They have a specialized role of preventing the opponents from scoring a goal.

  3. Midfielders: They have the role of tackling away the ball from the opponents’ possession to the forwards.

  4. Further Specific Positions: These players’ positions may be further categorized, depending on their specific strategic area such as; central, left or right defender or midfielder etc. Players can also switch position at anytime except for the goalkeeper.

Furthermore a team can have more or less forwards and defenders and vice versa with respect to its strategy. The game strategy may be aggressive or defensive. A manager of the team is appointed to specify the strategies and the formation of team.


Seventeen (17) laws are officially set in place for the international adult football which is followed by slight modifications on other levels. These rules are published as per the governing body of football, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and maintained by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). Other policies are also held in place by these organizations. Few basic rules are stated as under:

Indirect free kick: When game is stopped to caution/send-off an opponent without a specific reason.

Penalty kick: It is assigned to fouled team after a foul in their opponent's penalty area.

Kick-off: To begin each period of play or to restart after a goal from the opposing team.

Throw-in: Awarded to opposing team, specifically to that player who last touched the ball, if the ball crosses the touchline.

Goal kick: Awarded to defending team on ball crossing the goal line without a goal and having last been touched by an attacker.

Corner kick: When the ball crosses the goal line, without a goal. The ball is awarded to attacking team if previously hit by a defender.

Direct free kick: It is awarded to fouled team after a listed penalty area foul.

Dropped-ball: If the match has been stopped by the referee for any other reason (e.g. a serious injury to a player, interference by an external party, or a ball becoming defective).

Substitutions during the course of game on international or domestic level are allowed mostly three times. They are subjected to:

  • Injury

  • Futility

  • Tactical switch

  • Time wasting at the end of the match

  • Exhaustion

Minimum players required to continue the match is seven.

Referee enforces the law of the game along with two assistant referee a fourth referee is also available if required.

Physical contact between the players of the opponent teams is not allowed.

The game is stopped if ball leaves the field or referee specifies a restart.

During a game, ball in play and ball out of play are two states of play. From the beginning of the game, when the ball becomes out of play, it is restarted by one of above eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play.

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The equipment basically is a kit which contains clothing including shirt, socks, shin guards and footwear; head gear for preventing head injury is an optional addition. No accessories are allowed. The color of the uniform must be distinguishable from the other team.


The ball is an air-filled sphere having a circumference of 68–70 cm, a weight of 410–450 g, inflated to a pressure of 0.6–1.1 at (59–108 kPa. 8.5–15.6 psi) "at sea level", with a leather or other material covering. This is the exact dry weight, as older balls often become heavier in a match played in wet weather. A size 5 ball is a standard ball, although smaller sizes exist: size 3 is a standard for team handball along with size 4 and other small-field variants. Following are the commonly used sizes:

  1. The small balls are only mostly for promotional purposes. Their key ingredients are synthetic material, built up in 32 panels, and they are approximately 17 inches in circumference.

  2. The size 2 soccer ball, also used in promotional tournaments, is used during trainings for children. It is round about 22 inches and made of synthetic material, plastic or PVC. It is good for practicing drills and for improving one’s skills.

  3. The 3rd size soccer balls are used by players under 8 year of age because the balls are light and small (circumference 24 inches). They are usually made of 32 stitched or glued panels of synthetic materials or PVC. This is also the official size of balls used in handball.

  4. The 4th size balls are used in practices by players between 8 and 12 years old. They are spherical, with a maximum circumference of 26 inches. They are composed of leather in most cases.

  5. Size 5 is the standard ball size used in official FIFA championships all over the world. It is also the most widely used size of ball by players 12 years old or older. A soccer ball can also be made from polyurethane. It is a less soft material that still retains a good feel and is much more durable, so it can increase the life of the ball dramatically with its plastic.


Pitch standard dimensions in metric equivalents for international matches are 100-110m in length and 64-75m in width. These dimensions may vary for the non-international matches.

Shorter boundary lines are goal lines while longer boundary lines are touch lines.

A rectangular goal is at the middle of each goal line 7.32m wide and 2.44m high. Net is placed behind the goal.

Penalty area is in front of goal starting from goal line from goal post and extending into the pitch perpendicular to the goal line.

Team benches are placed along the Restraining Line between the 30 yard markers.


A match is divided into two periods called halves consisting of 45 minutes each. A 15 minute break is given in between the two halves and is known as half time. The end of the match is referred to as full time.

Referee is the official time keeper of the game and is responsible for adding-on time in case of injury, dismissal or caution etc. Sometimes a fourth official is appointed to declare time when the second half is about to end.

Extra Time

An extra time is provided sometimes in matches, which consist of a couple of 15 minutes. If the score is still tied, penalty shootouts are taken to ensure the progress of one team to the next stage of the tournament.


Some of the notable international and regional competitions in football are:

  • FIFA World Cup

  • FIFA Women's World Cup

  • FIFA Confederations Cup

  • UEFA European Football Championship

  • UEFA Women's Championship

  • UEFA Champions League

  • UEFA Women's Champions League

  • English Premier League

  • FA Cup

  • German Bundesliga

  • Italian Serie A

  • Portuguese Liga

  • Spanish Primera División or La Liga

  • Supercopa de España


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