Soccer (Association Football)
Soccer or Association Football is a sport that is played between two teams of eleven players each with a spherical ball. The objective of the game is to put the spherical ball (called as soccer ball or Football) in the net (called scoring a goal). The team with more number of goals wins the game. The game may end in a draw in case both team have the same scoreline or may go into extra time or penalty shootouts. The pitch of the game is rectangular in shape. Soccer currently has 250 million players in around 200 countries. The soccer ball is usually kicked or controlled by foot however at times players use their heads or torso to control or move the ball. Only goalkeepers are allowed to use hands while the ball is still on the pitch. The goalkeepers can use hands to control the ball in their penalty area only. The modern standardized version of the game along with laws evolved in England in around 1860. Today FIFA ( International Federation of Association Football) is the top governing body of soccer worldwide with continental and regional level associations governing the games at other levels.
The earliest version (though not same) of the game can be traced back to early Chinese and Greek societies where a ball was used to play between two teams. The games involved violence and was played with hands or feet depending on the style. Many believe they were pre-cursors to handballs, rugby or volleyball rather than modern football. In 1848, soccer was developed at Cambridge University England where the rules of the game were written. Although they were not adopted universally but many of schools and private associations started forming there own set of rules and started playing the game. Ebenexer Cobb Morley is widely regarded as the father of football. Over the next two decades and after a series of developments the modern football started gaining some popularity with the game being played between the various clubs that started ratifying the original laws of the game. As the game's popularity soared an international body known as FIFA was developed to regulate the game. Today soccer has millions of fans worldwide who play enjoy and support the game making it the most popular game in the world today. The game incites tremendous passions among fans where at times a friendly game is played to reduce tensions between two groups or for charity but sometimes things escalate into violent clashes between supporters of clubs or countries. Women football has existed since the Greek and Chinese societies and when the game started to develop in the nineteenth century female football clubs were formed as well. The women version of the game gained popularity during the first world war and since then it has developed into the present version of the game.
Association football is played in accordance with the Laws of the Game. A spherical ball which is 68 to 69.5 cm in circumference is used by two teams of eleven players each where the objective is to put the ball in the opponents net thereby scoring a goal. The teams which has more goals wins the game . If the scores are level then the game is a draw and depending on the rules a penalty or extra time ma be used. The teams have a captain whose official duty is to preside over the toss. Football coaches have the primary responsibility of formulating the tactics and deciding about the formation with which the teams are going to play. Each team has a goalkeeper whose is the only player allowed to touch the ball with hands. The responsibility of the goal keeper is to stop the opponent team from scoring a goal. The other players spread out on the football pitch according to their decided positions and they dribble or pass the ball to their team mates in order to score a goal. The players take shots at the goal whenever they think there is a goal scoring opportunity. The game is played in two halves of forty five minutes each. Game stops only when a player is injured or when referee stops play for penalizing a player if the referee thinks that the players made a foul or breaks certain codes during game-play. If a player makes a simple foul he is shown a yellow card and is called to have been booked. If the players makes a serious violation while tacking the ball or code of conduction the player is shown a red card and is removed from the pitch. Two yellow cards in the same game also results in suspension of the player immediately. The Laws of the Game specify only a position of the goalkeeper. However over the years special positions of defenders, midfielders and strikers have evolved during matches. The team manager is overall in charge of the teams formations.
Laws of Association Football
There are seventeen laws in total for the game where few of them are applicable worldwide. However there are some variations from the junior level football to the international level football. Each team consists of eleven players each along with the goalkeeper, Goalkeepers are the only players in the match who are allowed to use their hands to control the ball but this is limited to their penalty area. The sports attire of the players consists of t-shirts and shorts which football shoes are used to control the ball. Although it is not mandatory but various body guards like the shin guard or an athletic supporter is strongly recommended by experts. The dress of the players of a team should be same expect for the goalkeeper who has a choice. During game-play a team can substitute another player. Substitutes are generally used to make a tactical switch or if a player has been injured or has been ineffective during a game. A player who has been substituted is not allowed to re enter the match. For the match to continue a team should have at least seven players on the pitch. The game is controlled by match officials called referees. The main referee on the pitch take the final decisions pertaining to fouls, or progress of play and he assisted in this job by two assistant referees. The length of the pitch is 100 to 110 m where as the breadth is 64 to 75 m. The longer line of the pitch is named touchline where as shorter line is called the goal-line. The goal post is placed in the center of the goal-line with the two posts are 7.3, metre apart and 8 metre above the ground. The penalty area is marked on the football pitch. In the center of the pitch there is a center line where the match is kicked off. The game is played in two halves of 45 minutes each. There is a 15 minute time break between halves. Extra time or injury time is added at the end of 45 minutes in case there has been stoppage of play due to any reason.
Fouls & Misconduct
The player commits a foul when the players breaks the laws of the game on field. For example if the players deliberately handles the ball or used injures the player of the other team in a dangerous move he is said to have committed a foul. Depending on the level of offence, the referee penalizes the player who has committed the foul from a caution to dismissal from the field game. The referee has full control of the decision with regard to the foul committed. If the offence is not serious and the team is still in possession of the ball, he can give a playing advantage to the opposing team. Off the field the various associations and regulation bodies take a decision is cases of unfair play, match fixing or if any serious issues come up during a match. The penalty can range from a fine to ban which depends on the type of offense that is committed.
FIFA is the apex body which controls the game worldwide and it is helped by other associations world wide. FIFA's headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland. The most prestigious of the football championships is the World cup which is played every four years. Euro Cup, Copa America and other football championships around the world are also prestigious titles. In totality football is the biggest and most loved game worldwide.